A Manhattan court sentenced Trevor William Forrest (also known as Shaikh Abdullah Faisal) to 18 years in state prison for recruiting people to join ISIS and encouraging violence and terrorist acts, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. announced.
“Shaikh Faisal’s advocacy, recruitment and provision of material support to ISIS helped the terrorist organization perform horrific acts, including the murder and kidnapping of innocent people,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Our Counter Terrorism Program worked alongside our NYPD partners to convict Faisal and secure today’s prison sentence. Tragically, Manhattan will continue to be a target for those who want to harm this country. Working with our federal and state law enforcement partners, our office stands at the ready to continue combatting terrorism.”
The New York State Supreme Court convicted Faisal on Jan. 26, 2023, after he was found guilty of “Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree, Attempted Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree as a Crime of Terrorism and Attempted Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism.”
During the two-month trial, the court obtained material that proved Faisal supported ISIS’ acts of violence and terrorism. As an English-speaking ISIS recruiter, Faisal spoke to prospective recruits through writings, speeching and recordings. He gave instructions on traveling to Syria and Iraq without raising suspicions, told ISIS-interested women they could meet husbands and inspired those interested to commit violent acts.
The NYPD Intelligence Bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Counter Terrorism Program have been investigating possible terrorists, extremist activities and terror financing since 2015.
In 2016, Faisal entered the investigation while residing in St. James, Jamaica. He began communicating with an undercover NYPD officer over emails, text messages and video chats. Without realizing it, he sent the undercover officers his online lectures and propagandist reports from an Islamic State news outlet.
Faisal offered to help the officer travel to the Middle East. The undercover officer told Faisal of their desire to go overseas to help fighters medically since she was certified to perform CPR and first aid. He advised her to marry an ISIS fighter to enable her to travel abroad.
Authorities arrested Faisal in Jamaica in 2017.
“Today’s sentencing makes our city, and our nation, safer,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said. “As long as supporters of international terrorism continue to threaten the people we serve, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring them to justice. I want to thank the NYPD’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism investigators, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and everyone else involved in this critical case.”