- Made international money transfers to finance the activities of six jihadist members of the Portland Seven terrorist group
Born in 1977, October Martinique Lewis was the only female member of the Portland Seven, an Oregon-based cell of Islamic terrorists who conspired to levy war against the United States and to provide support for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Lewis’s fellow Portland Seven members included her ex-husband Jeffrey Leon Battle (whom she wed in 1999 and divorced five months later), Maher Mofeid Hawash, Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Ahmed Abrahim Bilal, and Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal.
Lewis did not directly attempt to take up arms against the United States, as her six male accomplices did. But while those accomplices traveled abroad (between October 2001 and February 2002) in an effort to join forces with the al Qaeda and Taliban jihadists who were fighting against American troops in Afghanistan, Lewis repeatedly sent them money via Western Union—in amounts ranging from $100 to $400—to finance their activities. Throughout that period, Lewis, who used false names to make the transactions, was fully aware that those funds would be used to support the men’s continuing attempts to enter Afghanistan and take up arms against the United States and its allies.
Lewis was indicted in May 2003, and on September 26 of that year she pleaded guilty to six counts of money laundering. On December 2, 2003, she was sentenced to three years in a federal prison camp.
Further Reading: “4 in U.S. Charged in Post-9/11 Plan to Join Al Qaeda (NY Times, 10-5-2002); “3 Members of Terrorist Cell Sentenced” (Los Angeles Times, 2-10-2004).
- The Portland Seven is sometimes called the Portland Six (or, occasionally, the Oregon Six)—designations that fail to count Lewis as a member, since she did not join the others in physically attempting to wage jihad on the battlefields of Afghanistan. But her participation in the group’s illegal activities is beyond question. Thus she is sometimes characterized the “seventh member” of the Portland Six—thereby making it the Portland Seven.