Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, of Galway, New York, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, for plotting to kill Muslims with a weapon of mass destruction.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian of the Northern District of New York and Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Albany Divison.
On Aug. 21, 2015, following a week-long trial, a jury voted to convict Crawford on all charges of a 3-count indictment: attempting to produce and use a radiological dispersal device, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. He is the first person in the U.S to be found guilty of attempting to acquire and use a radiological dispersal device, in violation of the “dirty bomb” statute passed by Congress in 2004. Senior U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe imposed today’s sentence.
"Glendon Scott Crawford is an extremist who planned to use a radiological dispersal device to target unsuspecting Muslim Americans with lethal doses of radiation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will continue to pursue justice against anyone who seeks to perpetrate attacks against Americans on our soil. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who worked on this case and are responsible for this result.”
“This case shows both the dangers we face from extremist views, and our resolve to stop those who plan to act on those views. Crawford planned to kill Muslims on account of their religion and other people whose political and social beliefs he disagreed with, including government officials. Our Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force prevented Crawford and his co-conspirator Eric Feight from carrying out their diabolical plan. Counter-terrorism is our highest priority, and we will continue to identify and hold accountable all those who seek to commit acts of terrorism within our borders,” said U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.
“Today’s sentencing is as much a victory for the community as it is for law enforcement. It is a powerful reminder of the strength and solidarity of our communities. When confronted with Crawford’s deadly intentions, concerned citizens came forward and alerted law enforcement of Crawford’s plans. While we enjoy today’s success, it is important that we continue in the diligent effort to identify and disrupt those who would go beyond hateful rhetoric to commit violent, criminal acts,” said Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale.
The evidence presented at trial showed that in April 2012, Crawford approached local Jewish organizations seeking financial support for his plan to acquire a device to be used against people he described as being “enemies of Israel.” Crawford, a self-professed member of the Ku Klux Klan, drove from the Albany area to North Carolina to directly solicit funding for his plan from senior members of the Ku Klux Klan. Crawford was an industrial mechanic working in Schenectady, New York. His goal was to acquire and modify an industrial-grade x-ray radiation device and use it to cause death or injury by exposing people to lethal doses of ionizing radiation.
Crawford, with help from co-conspirator Eric J. Feight, took steps to design, acquire parts for, build and test a remote-control unit that would activate a radiation dispersal device from a distance. Evidence presented at trial showed that Crawford sought and eventually received a radiation dispersal device from people he believed were businessmen affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, but were, actually, FBI Special Agents acting in an undercover capacity. Before providing the device to Crawford, FBI Agents had rendered it safe.
Feight, acting at Crawford’s direction, built and delivered a remote-control unit. Crawford wanted the lethal radiation device to be used against Muslim Americans, and he scouted mosques in Albany and Schenectady, New York, and an Islamic community center and school in Schenectady, as possible target locations. Other targets considered by Crawford included the White House and the New York Governor’s Mansion in Albany.
Feight pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists. Judge Sharpe sentenced him to a 97-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents as well as members of the New York State Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Albany Police Department, the Troy Police Department in New York and the New York City Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen C. Green and Richard D. Belliss of the Northern District of New York, who represented the U.S. during trial, and Senior Trial Attorney Joseph Kaster of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, with support from the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division.