Ahmed Stopped in New York While Attempting to Fly Overseas to Join Terror Organization
Defendant Also Charged with Lying to Federal Agents during Terrorism Investigation
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota announced today the indictment of Hamza Naj Ahmed, 19, for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Ahmed is also charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIL and for making a false statement in a terrorism investigation. Ahmed was previously charged by criminal complaint for lying to FBI agents. The defendant was detained on Feb. 5, 2015, after making an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Steven Rau in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“Hamza Ahmed is at least the fourth person from the Twin Cities charged as a result of an ongoing investigation into individuals who have traveled or are attempting to travel to Syria in order to join a foreign terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “Since 2007, dozens of people from the Twin Cities have traveled or attempted to travel overseas in support of terror. While my office will continue to prosecute those who attempt to provide material support to ISIL or any other terrorist organization, we remain committed to working with dedicated community members to bring this cycle to an end.”
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Ahmed and three companions, M.F., H.M.M. and Z.A., travelled by bus from Minneapolis to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The four men were each booked on international flights scheduled to depart JFK on Nov. 8, 2014. Ahmed and M.F. were booked on the same flight from JFK to Istanbul, Turkey. M.F., H.M.M. and Z.A. were each prevented from boarding their flights. Ahmed successfully boarded, but was escorted from the aircraft by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents before it left the boarding gate.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Ahmed was subsequently interviewed by FBI agents. He made multiple false statements during the interview, including telling agents that he was traveling alone, and that he did not know M.F. or H.M.M. When Ahmed arrived back in Minnesota on Nov. 9, 2014, FBI agents conducted a second voluntary interview, during which Ahmed again lied to agents.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force.
This case is being prosecuted by Attorney Andrew Sigler of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Winter and John Docherty of the District of Minnesota.
HAMZA NAJ AHMED, 19
Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, 1 count
Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, 1 count
Making a False Statement in a Terrorism Investigation, 1 count