NEW YORK, NY—Minh Quang Pham has been indicted in Manhattan federal court on charges of providing material support to, and receiving military training from, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as possessing and using firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence, and other violations.
The indictment was announced by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; James W. McJunkin, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Washington, D.C. Field Office of the FBI; Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI; and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (NYPD).
U.S. Attorney Bharara said: “The international law enforcement cooperation that lead to today’s arrest of Minh Quang Pham, an alleged associate of a terrorist organization committed to killing Americans both here and abroad, underscores our joint commitment to identifying, prosecuting, and punishing those who would do harm to our country and our people.”
D.C. FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge McJunkin said: “Today, an indictment was unsealed charging Minh Quang Pham with providing material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and receiving military-style training while he was in Yemen. Together with our law enforcement partners, the FBI will continue to work both here and abroad to protect the United States and its citizens from terrorism.”
NY FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk said: “The defendant not only allegedly pledged an oath to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and received military training from AQAP, he also helped design and disseminate its propaganda. The investigation that led to this indictment is the result of the kind of cooperation and coordination, domestically and internationally, that is essential in the effort to prevent acts of terrorism.”
NYPD Commissioner Kelly said: “These charges point to the ongoing threat posed by al Qaeda affiliates like AQAP, and the importance of law enforcement collaboration internationally in thwarting them.”
According to the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
In December 2010, Pham traveled from the United Kingdom to Yemen, the principal base of operations for AQAP. While in Yemen, Pham took an oath of allegiance to AQAP; carried an automatic assault rifle; obtained training from and on behalf of AQAP; helped AQAP to prepare online propaganda; and worked alongside two U.S. citizens.
Pham returned to the United Kingdom from Yemen in 2011. He was arrested today based on the indictment described above. Prior to his arrest, Pham was held by British authorities in immigration custody.
The indictment charges Pham, 29, with five counts. Counts one and two of the indictment charge Pham with conspiracy to provide and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Count three charges Pham with conspiracy to receive military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization. Count four charges him with receipt of military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization and count five charges him with use, carrying and possession of firearms (machine guns) in furtherance of crimes of violence.
If convicted on all counts, Pham would face a maximum sentence of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the extraordinary investigative work of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force—which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the New York City Police Department—for the critical role they played and continue to play in the investigation of Pham and his co-conspirators. In addition, Mr. Bharara thanked the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and its Office of International Affairs; various other U.S. government agencies; and British authorities, including the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, all of whom provided extraordinary cooperation in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen B. Ritchin, Benjamin Naftalis, Anna M. Skotko, and Sean S. Buckley are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.