Six Minnesota men have been charged with terrorism in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday that accuses them of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, reports Fox News.
The six are accused of conspiracy to provide material support and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The complaint said the men planned to reach Syria by flying from San Diego or New York City to nearby countries, and lied to federal investigators when they were stopped.
The men are the latest from Minnesota to be charged in a months-long investigation into the recruiting of Westerners to join the Islamic State terrorist group. Authorities said earlier that a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with militants in the past year, and at least one has died.
Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19; Adnan Farah, 19; Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19; and Guled Ali Omar, 20; were arrested in Minneapolis yesterday. Abdirahman Yasin Daud, 21, and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, were arrested yesterday in California after driving from Minneapolis to San Diego, according to an FBI release.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger of the District of Minnesota and Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI's Minneapolis Division made the announcement.
"The six defendants charged in the complaint allegedly planned to travel to Syria as part of their conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL," said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. "One of the National Security Division's highest priorities is to identify, disrupt, and hold accountable those who provide or attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations. I would like to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and the charges in this case."
"As described in the criminal complaint, these men worked over the course of the last 10 months to join ISIL," said U.S. Attorney Luger. "Even when their co-conspirators were caught and charged, they continued to seek new and creative ways to leave Minnesota to fight for a terror group. I applaud the hard work and tireless efforts of the FBI Minneapolis Division and their colleagues around the country."
"Preventing acts of terrorism is the FBI's highest priority," said Special Agent in Charge Thornton. "Disrupting individuals from traveling to join and fight for ISIL is an important part of our counter terrorism strategy. As a result of this investigation and arrests, these six Minnesota men who planned to travel and fight for ISIL will answer these charges in U.S. District Court instead of taking up arms in Syria. The FBI remains committed to ending both recruitment efforts and travel on the part of young people from Minnesota to fight overseas on behalf of terror groups. These arrests today signify this continued commitment."
According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, the FBI has been conducting an investigation for the last 10 months into a group of individuals who have tried to join—and in some cases succeeded in joining—overseas designated foreign terrorist organizations. At least nine Minnesotans have now been charged as part of this conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL. The men are all alleged associates and friends of one another.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Minnesota and the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice National Security Division. Assistant Attorney General Carlin is also grateful to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of California and the FBI's San Diego Division for their contributions to the investigation of this case.