On July 11, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler announced that two Fishers residents faced terrorism and firearms charges by a federal grand jury. The Fishers residents were brothers Moyad Dannon, 21, and Mahde Dannon, 20.
The brothers were charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources, including firearms, to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIS. They also were charged with various firearms offenses. They have been in federal custody since their arrest on May 15.
The arrest was the culmination of a months-long investigation led by the FBI Indianapolis’ Joint Terrorism Task Force with assistance from the Fishers Police Dept.
According to a press release from the Dept. of Justice, Mahde Dannon was awaiting trial on felony theft charges in Lake County, created a plan to deliver firearms, including stolen firearms, to a convicted felon who was cooperating with the FBI. The following month, Mahde Dannon introduced his brother Moyad Dannon to the cooperating individual, and the cooperating individual later introduced the Dannon brothers to an undercover FBI agent.
The Dannon brothers sold illegally obtained firearms to the cooperating individual between the months July and December 2018. At the same time, the brothers also began manufacturing “ghost guns,” which were untraceable. They did so by purchasing firearm parts without serial numbers online and assembling those parts to create fully functional .223 caliber, semi-automatic rifles. The brothers then sold the rifles to the undercover FBI agent.
Late last year, the brothers approached the individual and the FBI to discuss manufacturing untraceable fully-automatic rifles with the same process they used for the semi-automatic rifles. Then, in February, the brothers built one fully automatic rifle and provided it to the undercover FBI agent.
Then, Moyad Dannon accompanied the agent to a location near the U.S. southwest border trying to market the fully automatic rifle to a potential buyer who was also cooperating with the FBI. Moyad Dannon learned the potential buyer sought to send the fully-automatic weapons to a location in the Middle East, where they would be used by ISIS. The Dannon brothers agreed to manufacture and sell at least 55 additional fully-automatic ghost guns to the buyer from the southwest border, despite believing the weapons would then be shipped to the Middle East for ISIS use.
On May 15, the brothers manufactured five untraceable, fully automatic rifles from parts they had purchased online. They were aware of the plan to send the guns overseas to ISIS. The brothers sold the guns to FBI undercover agents who were posing as employees of the buyer from the southwest border. Immediately after, the FBI arrested both Mahde and Moyad Dannon.
“This case is the first of its kind for the Federal Bureau of Investigation where you have individuals allegedly making guns to sell and/or send overseas to ISIS,” stated Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “This indictment paints a vivid picture of the rapid rise of homegrown violent extremism and the lengths people are willing to go to in their support of terrorist activity.”
The Dannon brothers were detained without bond pending trial, and they appeared in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis July 11 to be arraigned.
The brothers face a maximum of 10 years in prison on each of the firearms charges, and a maximum of 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Rinka, Chief of the National Security Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are handling the prosecution for this case.