BUSTED! St. Thomas Native Dayne Christian Caught Up In West Palm Beach Terrorist Plot According To The FBI
FOILED! Dayne Antani Christian
WEST PALM BEACH — A St. Thomas native took part in a plot to supply ISIS terrorists with automatic weapons such as AK-47s to kill American soldiers — and his mother used to work with the U.S. Marshals Service in the territory, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.
Christian, who was born in Charlotte Amalie, is accused of plotting with a homeless West Palm Beach fine artist to aid ISIS in its quest for world domination, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gregory Hubbard — the Florida artist who wanted to join the terrorist Jihad by flying to Syria to support ISIS — was arrested this summer when he tried to board the flight — was called the ringleader of the scheme by federal authorities.
Magistrate David Lee Brannon also agreed to delay bond hearings for Hubbard’s alleged accomplices, Christian of the Virgin Islands and Darren Jackson, upon their attorneys’ request. All three men pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to aid a terrorist organization.
According to court records, Hubbard, 52, also known as Jibreel, told an FBI confidential informant in April 2015 that he wanted to travel to Syria and join ISIS. Hubbard introduced the informant to Christian and Jackson, both of whom provided weapons and firearms instruction to Hubbard and the informant, knowing that the men were planning to fight for ISIS.
The case against the men rests on the informant’s credibility and recordings made by the informant. During Wednesday’s 90-minute hearing, FBI Special Agent Brian King testified that the informant had been working for the FBI for eight years and had been paid more than $100,000 for information in other cases. The informant stood to make even more with this case, King said.
The FBI began investigating the men in April 2015, King said. Agents gave the informant “specific taskings” to elicit more information from Hubbard, King said. The FBI often is put on the defensive, forced to persuade the court that it didn’t entrap terrorism suspects to make a case.
When Hubbard’s public defender Anthony Natale asked if the FBI had ever investigated Hubbard before, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Nucci jumped to his feet and objected, saying prior investigations — if there were any — were not relevant. King said he could not answer the question because the information was classified.
As for Hubbard’s religious practices, King said Hubbard attended a local mosque several times a month. They would stop what they were doing to honor daily prayer rituals, King said.
Natale asked King if he was aware that Hubbard had been the victim of fraud several years ago that left him depressed and homeless. Hubbard had been prescribed medications for a mental illness and had gone off his medications, Natale said.
“It was a turning point in his life,” Natale said. “He quit his art.”
King said the informant told them Hubbard was prone to outbursts but was stable. Agents did not find any medications in Hubbard’s luggage when he was arrested.
Hubbard who was known for his large, brightly colored sculptures, showed his work at SunFest and earned awards at shows across the country. The Palm Beach Post featured him as an artist in a story in 2007 where he spoke passionately about his sculptures. Hubbard, one of 12 children and an honorably discharged Marine, had no family in court.
Consoled by marshal
Christian, 31, a former Palm Beach Lakes High School athlete and father of four, responded with “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” to the magistrate’s questions. Across the courtroom, family members dabbed tears from their eyes. A U.S. marshal walked across the courtroom and held the hand of an elderly woman, whose body shook as she held back tears.
Outside the courtroom, the woman cried “Oh, God! Oh, God!” as she and other family members met privately with Christian’s attorney, Michael Salnick. Christian’s mother, LynNette Christian, has worked for the U.S. Marshal’s Service in St. Thomas, where her son was born, and in West Palm Beach for 37 years. The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School graduate was not in court on Wednesday.
Christian stands to spend the most time in prison if convicted. He faces a gun charge that carries a maximum 10-year sentence in addition to 20 years for the terrorism charge. Christian served a year in prison after pleading guilty in 2010 to making false statements to buy 15 firearms for a former Air Force officer.
Salnick, who represented Christian on the 2010 charges, described him as a “good kid,” and even sent him a thank-you note after the 2010 case.
Of the three men, Jackson was the trainer, according to court records. Jackson also wanted to go to Syria but agreed instead to provide assault rifles and train Hubbard and the federal informant on their use. The group practiced shooting at local gun ranges and the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area northwest of The Acreage.
Jackson bragged about having a sniper rifle that was accurate at a range of up to a mile and that its steel rounds could pierce body armor, King swore in the criminal complaint.
Jackson, 50, is married and has three children. However, he was living with his father in West Palm Beach. Hubbard, who was homeless, also was staying with Jackson’s father. Julie Vianale, a Boca Raton attorney appointed to represent Jackson, declined to comment.
The 22-page complaint provides a timeline of how the group’s plans evolved and commitment to ISIS intensified. The men listened to the screeds of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born, Yemeni cleric whose extremist videos have radicalized other Florida terrorists, including Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and Moner Mohammed Abu-Salha, the first American suicide bomber in Syria. Al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen in September 2011 but his teachings are available on the internet.
The men also watched ISIS videos of a beheading and another man’s skull being crushed. Hubbard told the confidential informant that “sometimes you just have to cut the head off.”
But Hubbard softly shook his head back in forth in court when Nucci described an incident at a local restaurant. When a news report about the terrorist attack in San Bernadino, Calif., came on the television, Hubbard asked the confidential informant for his thoughts.
Hubbard became enraged when the informant said the shooting was a “tragedy.” Hubbard stood up suddenly and loudly exclaimed he did not care how many Americans and infidels were killed.
Nucci also revealed another incident not included in court records: Hubbard wanted to build a bomb to kill police. However, Hubbard changed his mind because he did not want to risk capture and miss out on joining ISIS in Syria, Nucci said.
To prove Hubbard’s intent, Nucci said that Hubbard moved all of his personal belongings into a storage facility in Albany, Ga., where he was born, and asked the confidential informant to store some of his sculptures and paintings. Hubbard also sent a letter to one of his sisters, saying that he had decided to “move abroad” because he “failed to see any good in the path of this country or the leaders at the helm.”
“His avowed enemy is the United States,” Nucci said in asking for no bond. “What possible conditions could you impose that would assure his appearance here?”
Hubbard was arrested at Miami International Airport after he cleared a TSA security checkpoint with the informant. Hubbard and the informant had booked tickets to Berlin, where Hubbard hoped to continue to Syria, according to the complaint.
Jackson, 50, who drove Hubbard and the informant to the airport after weeks of target practice at local gun ranges and in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, was arrested after leaving the airport. Christian, of Lake Park, a felon with a prior firearm conviction, helped arm the group, the criminal complaint said.
FAILED ARTIST LIKE HITLER: Gregory Hubbard of Albany, Georgia.