A former soldier who disturbed his neighbors in Montesano when he repeatedly expressed support for the Islamic State and reportedly told a federal agent about his desire to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord was charged Monday with illegally possessing firearms.
Daniel Seth Franey, 33, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on any of five counts for the alleged weapons violations.
He did not own any of the guns he reportedly handled, and agents who searched his home last weekend found no firearms there.
Franey is accused of possessing firearms during five staged gun-buying trips he made with an undercover federal agent, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in federal court.
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During a six-month investigation, Franey allegedly told an undercover FBI agent repeatedly that he wanted to obtain weapons to kill police, soldiers deploying to war or judges.
He alternated between saying he wanted the guns to protect his home and a more aggressive declaration that he wanted to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State, according to a statement from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Seattle Division.
“I consider myself an ISIS soldier as much as the brothers over there,” he told the undercover agent on one occasion.
Franey appeared in federal court in Tacoma on Monday for a short hearing during which Magistrate Karen Strombom declined to release him from custody. She said she considered him a threat to others.
Franey did not stand when Strombom entered the court. He was the only person in the room who did not follow the custom of rising when a judge enters.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg cast him as determined to buy weapons even though he’s prohibited from handling them by a protective order from an Illinois court because of a domestic violence incident.
Franey was in the Army from 2002 to 2008. He was stationed with air defense artillery units in Texas and in South Korea. He told informants he deserted, and Army records reviewed by federal agents supported that description.
He did not serve at JBLM, and he has not appeared on the base’s list of local suspected deserters, a base spokesman said.
More recently, he has worked as a fishermen. He lives with his wife and two young children in Montesano. He also has children with his previous wife in Illinois.
The FBI launched an undercover operation against Franey late last spring after several Montesano residents contacted the agency after he allegedly told people he wanted to travel to Afghanistan to kill American soldiers.
Five people who have known Franey for some time told the FBI that Franey frequently talked about wanting to buy weapons, kill cops or fight with the Islamic State.
During the undercover operation, Franey made five trips to staged gun buys with an agent who characterized himself as a black-market dealer.
Court records show Franey
reportedly discussed with the informant attacking JBLM. When the informant said the base looked like a hard target, Franey reportedly said he would “get maps” and create a situation in which people ran into his gunfire.
Franey also expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden, the deceased al-Qaida leader who plotted the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
Franey on several occasions acknowledged he was not allowed to possess firearms. Agents listed three trips between September and November during which he handled or shot weapons, including an automatic rifle.
He also repeatedly asked the agent to sell him a gun or to give him one. The agent reportedly told Franey he would not supply him with a weapon after Franey said he wanted to attack JBLM.
“Lewis-McChord would just be a little pimple to pop, man,” Franey said, according to the joint terrorism task force. “That’s all that is. Just waiting for the commands of Allah.”