LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Helena-West Helena, Arkansas man was sentenced to prison for helping a terrorist group in Yemen.
The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced Tuesday that Bilal Al-Rayanni, a 31-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to federal prison for providing material support to a terrorist organization.
Al-Rayanni was sentenced to 65 months in prison, followed by 10 years supervised release.
In July 2014, Al-Rayanni left the U.S. to visit family in Yemen, where he stayed through January 2015. He later admitted to federal agents that while in-country, he had driven a vehicle in an armed convoy for a terrorist group recruiting mission.
The group, Ansar al-Sharira, is the name for Al Qa’ida in the southern Arabian Peninsula.
Other than his admission, other evidence of Al-Rayanni participating with Ansar al-Sharira are pictures of him posing with an ISIS flag, and a second of him posing in front of a convoy while weapons and ammunition was nearby.
Al-Rayanni worked as a convenience store clerk in Helena-West Helena, where customers knew him as Billy, according to earlier reporting.