Crime

He threatened an attack ‘in the spirit of Dylann Roof.’ Now he’s going back to prison

The Conway man who purchased a gun from an undercover agent for an attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" has been sentenced to less than three years in prison.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 31, was arrested by the FBI in February 2017 and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. A year later, he pleaded guilty in Florence Federal Court.

McDowell will spend 33 months in prison, according to a release from First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Crick. In addition to the sentence, the judge ordered that upon parole McDowell must be on home confinement, take mandatory drug tests, and have mental health counseling and vocational training.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell appeared before a federal judge in a Florence courtroom on the afternoon of Feb. 21, 2017. He waived his right to a probable cause hearing on a federal weapon charge in a case the FBI says was centered on an attack

Documents from the case say McDowell became affiliated with white supremacists while he was serving prison sentences in South Carolina and has tattoos indicating his ties.

He allegedly published a post in January 2017 stating:

“Dylann Roof did what these tattoos wearing so bada** is supposed to be doing they give f*** about their white race. All they wanne do is stay loaded on drugs the Jews put here to destroy white man and they feast on the drugs. they should be Feasting on the enemy that stole their Heritage and their bloodline and trying to run us off of this Earth you can post pictures of f****** Viking and swords all the s*** you want to post if you ain’t got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did you need to shut the f******up d*** right I’m pissed off when I see a f******white young and disable beat him to death before f****** n****** and white people running their f******mouth not doing nothing!!!!!!! damn right I’m pissed off.”

In 2017, McDowell met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a member of a white supremacist organization who he bought a 40-caliber Glock from for about $109, according to court documents. He was arrested later that day in the parking lot of a Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach. Officers say he was carrying a red duffel bag, containing a 40-caliber Glock and a hollow point ammunition, when he was arrested.

The FBI was concerned about McDowell's comments about a particular Jewish synagogue, which implied it may be a possible target of violence, a release said.

In 2011, he served 18 months in prison for a felony second-degree burglary conviction.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong

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