ROANOKE — A man living in Roanoke since the spring has been arrested and accused of posting an online video tutorial on how to make explosives, reportedly in support of ISIS.
Romeo Xavier Langhorne, 30, was taken into custody Friday and is being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail.
In a 51-page criminal complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Florida, an agent with the Northeast Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force accused Langhorne of “attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
It called Langhorne “an ISIS supporter” who “has created and disseminated a video how to make triacetone triperoxide, a deadly explosive.”
Much of the criminal complaint is dedicated to communications, reportedly between Langhorne and someone working undercover for the FBI, who had been exchanging texts since February. The affidavit says the person working undercover created the video, “based on the ideas provided by Langhorne,” on how to manufacture explosives from components found in common household items.
The complaint says Langhorne posted the video on Nov. 11 on the website BitChute, but the investigative team included in the video a formula “that would be likely to appear to Langhorne to be the formula for TATP but, in fact, would produce an inert product.”
“The video also contains demonstrations of a tree, car and barn being exploded,” the complaint says. Those examples, illustrating how to gauge the amount of explosives needed for different-sized targets, reportedly came from Langhorne.
Often during the exchanges, the person investigators say is Langhorne mentions consulting with a lawyer, to make sure the video is legal.
“I can’t promise it won’t get banned by whatever platform it gets uploaded to. But I can’t think of any reason it would violate US law,” Langhorne reportedly wrote to the FBI’s undercover employee.
The final version of the video also reportedly included a summary that declared “this video is for scientific research and application purposes” and urged viewers to “check with local ordinances” and obtain “an explosive manufacturing license to produce such material.”
But the complaint also says Langhorne asked that the video include a nasheed, an Arabic song, that he dictated would include a vocal chorus with the lyrics “kill them all.”
“[T]he premise of the nasheed is to encourage justified retaliation. Hince. Kill them all,” Langhorne reportedly told the employee.
He also reportedly wrote that putting the video online would help give “the Islamic world ... a better grasp on how to defend itself with the usage of explosives in a reasonable & safe manner.”
Langhorne previously lived in St. Augustine, Florida, but the court papers said his mother lives in Roanoke and he moved here April 9. He was under FBI surveillance when arrived in town by train, the papers said.
He first drew the attention of law enforcement in 2014 “when he posted on his Facebook account statements and images in support of ISIS,” the complaint said.
It also claimed that in 2018, Langhorne posted to YouTube videos that included an extremist speech by Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior recruiter for Al Qaeda, as well as footage released by ISIS in 2014 that “contained the first official instructions by the Islamic State for its supporters to kill non-Muslims in Western countries.”
In 2014, Langhorne was charged in Franklin County with being a fugitive from a felony accusation, but that charged was dismissed and more information about the circumstances was not immediately available.