WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Three Palm Beach County men who planned to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State have been charged with knowingly conspiring and attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, federal authorities said Friday.
Gregory Hubbard, 52, Darren Jackson, 50, both of West Palm Beach, and Dayne Christian, 31, of Lake Park, were named in a federal criminal complaint as being ISIS sympathizers.
According to the complaint, Hubbard expressed support for ISIS, described as ISIL, and told an FBI confidential informant that he wanted to travel to Syria and join ISIS to engage in a "violent jihad."
The FBI said Hubbard introduced the informant to Christian and Jackson, both of whom provided weapons and firearms instructions to them for the purpose of traveling overseas to join ISIS.
"Christian stated that he was in contact with a Syrian national inside Syria who was a member of ISIL," the complaint said.
The FBI said Hubbard and Christian used the phrase "soccer team" as code when referring to ISIS and "playing soccer" when referring to joining ISIS.
"Both Hubbard and Jackson stated that they felt persecuted because of their Islamic faith and that they thought the other individuals at the shooting range were training to kill Muslims," the complaint said.
The FBI said Hubbard purchased an airplane ticket to Germany, where he planned to board a train to Turkey and then on to Syria.
Special Agent Brian King listed several examples of the trio's support of ISIS, including during a meeting between Hubbard and the informant at a restaurant and while Christian and Hubbard discussed a potential target at Christian's gym.
Hubbard and the informant were eating at a restaurant in December when a news report on the mass shooting at San Bernardino, California, came on the television. The informant said the shooting was a tragedy, but Hubbard "grew upset, stood up suddenly and loudly exclaimed that he did not care how many Americans and infidels were killed." Hubbard also said he didn't care if others noticed his outburst.
Later that month, Christian spoke about wanting to follow a man who had worn a U.S. Marines shirt home from the gym and shoot him.
"Christian said that he could hide in the bushes outside the victim's house for two hours and wait for him to come home and then 'pop,'" the complaint said.
Hubbard was arrested Thursday at Miami International Airport as he prepared to embark on his overseas trip. Jackson was arrested after dropping off Hubbard at the airport. Christian was arrested while he was at work.
The FBI said Christian also admitted to buying four guns in the last year, including an AK-47 assault rifle. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 5.