Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided the Montesano home of a man who told an undercover agent he wanted to fight with the Islamic State group.

Share story

Federal agents with the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force have arrested an Army deserter and purported sympathizer of the Islamic State group for illegally possessing automatic weapons and other firearms.

Daniel Seth Franey, 33, was arrested during a Saturday raid at his home in Montesano, Grays Harbor County. He appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Strombom, who ordered him detained pending a preliminary hearing Feb. 22. He is charged with five felony counts of unlawful possession of the weapons.

The complaint says Franey is the subject of a domestic-violence protective order out of Illinois, which bars him from possessing firearms.

However, the complaint says Franey repeatedly handled firearms in the presence of an undercover federal agent posing as a small-arms dealer. He also allegedly fired two rifles. It does not include information about his purported desertion.

Franey has lived in Washington for the past three years and occasionally works as a fisherman out of Westport, according to the complaint.

Court records indicate Franey came under suspicion of law enforcement in April when a witness went to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office to report that Franey “regularly talked about his support for the … terrorist organization of the Islamic States of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and claimed he wanted to go overseas to ‘join the fight,’ ” according to an affidavit filed by Federal Protective Services Agent Joseph Deaver, a member of the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The complaint says the FBI initiated an investigation, sending in an undercover officer to befriend Franey. The officer reported that Franey described the Islamic State group as the “best people on Earth” and at one point described Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaida and the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “diamond … a holy warrior. He’s a beautiful man.”

Bin Laden was killed during a U.S. operation in Pakistan in 2011.

The 31-page complaint states that the undercover officer posed as a small-arms dealer, and that Franey — who knew he was not supposed to own a gun — repeatedly asked the undercover officer to provide him with AK-47s, a “street-sweeper” semi-automatic shotgun and Glock handguns.

Franey took several trips with the undercover agent to Spokane and elsewhere, often in a car carrying a bag of firearms. During one trip to Spokane in August, Franey drove with the undercover officer to a motel, where the agent entered with a duffel bag containing several assault-style rifles and handguns, and came out with a wad of cash totaling $10,500, which he asked Franey to count for him.

He later gave Franey $200 for coming on the trip. The undercover agent also gave Franey money to pay bills.

During that trip and others, the undercover agent reported that Franey repeatedly asked to buy guns.

The complaint states that Franey swung between telling the undercover agent that the weapons would be to protect his family and fantasizing about killing U.S. servicemen or attacking a military base. At one point, the complaint says, Franey praised the July attack at military installations in Tennessee in which five servicemen were killed, as was the attacker, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.

During a trip to Ellensburg in September, the undercover agent said Franey handled several handguns.

The following month, according to the court documents, Franey accompanied the undercover agent on a “firearms trafficking” trip to and from Santa Monica, Calif., during which they met with other law-enforcement officers posing as undercover gun buyers.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

According to the charges, Franey was sitting in a hotel room with four undercover officers and a duffel bag full of firearms at one point when he proclaimed that “Any government agents that I’m around, I feel the duty to kill.”

“It’s just not possible for me to have any kind of non-murderous relations with these people,” he said.

Franey’s secretly recorded statements make it clear, however, that while he wanted and fantasized about owning firearms, he knew he was not supposed to have a gun and did not purchase any of the guns provided by the undercover agent. According to the complaint, Franey fired an AR-15 rifle and a fully automatic AK-47 during a trip with the undercover agent to Yakima in November.

On Jan. 29, according to the search warrant, Franey spoke with the undercover agent on the telephone and allegedly agreed to purchase one of the rifles and expressed a desire to engage in violence.

“You know who I’m after — feds, pigs, politicians, bankers, policy makers, think tankers, the whole crew … Anyone who is not furthering the black flag” of ISIL, he said.

According to federal law, merely handling firearms, while the subject of a protective order, is a violation of the law.

Court documents indicate that federal agents arrested Franey after the execution of a “no-knock” search warrant at his home, where documents indicated he lived with a woman and two children.

Franey served in the Army from 2002 to 2008 and was stationed in Texas and South Korea, the complaint says, adding that he told various people — including an undercover officer — that he had deserted, and that Department of Defense records corroborated that.