Albuquerque man accused of trying to set up an ISIS training center appears in court

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 45-year-old Herman Leyvoune Wilson is accused of trying to set up an ISIS training center in Albuquerque.

According to federal prosecutors, Wilson started going by Bilal Mu’Min Abdullah and wanted to “wage jihad on behalf of ISIS in the United States and abroad.” Prosecutors claim Wilson scouted Kirtland Air Force Base and a local Army National Guard location as potential targets.

Wilson reportedly attempted to establish a mosque to teach ISIS ideology.

In federal court Tuesday, Wilson waived his right to a pretrial detention hearing. His defense said they needed more time to review the allegations against him.

A judge ruled Wilson will stay locked up until his defense team reviews that evidence.

Wilson faces 40 years in prison if convicted for helping a terrorist organization and tampering with an informant.

A woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told KOB 4 that she was once close with Wilson.

“We used to grow up playing football, we played handball out there, basketball, whatever,” she said. “We used to do water balloon fights.”

She said she witnessed him change over time – as he aligned himself with different groups of people.

“The only thing was, yeah, he was in a gang,” she said.

Armed robbery ultimately led to one of Wilson’s previous arrests. The woman said Wilson changed during his time in prison.

“I did talk to him throughout the years that he was locked up,” she said. “And I had noticed that he had started talking about Islam.”

Emile Nakhleh, a retired CIA officer, is a national security expert. He said Wilson fits in a certain radicalization category.

“It’s like almost brainwashing,” Nakhleh said. “People who have had a criminal record, who spend time in jail, usually several years, and who usually meet someone who is a radical Muslim or somebody who has tried to convince them, well, if they join this group, they will make something of themselves.”