Knife-Wielding Defendants Allegedly Attacked Federal Law Enforcement Officers
Yesterday, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned an indictment charging Munther Omar Saleh, 20, of Queens, New York, with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers. The same indictment also charges Fareed Mumuni, 21, of Staten Island, New York, with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIL, assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers and attempted murder of federal officers.
The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
The defendants’ arraignments are scheduled for Aug. 20, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the Eastern District of New York at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.
As alleged in the indictment and in other court filings, during the conspiracy, the defendants expressed fervent support for ISIL. Saleh and Mumuni conspired to conduct an attack in the United States, including plotting to use a pressure cooker bomb in the New York metropolitan area on behalf of ISIL. On June 13, 2015, Saleh and another individual were arrested in Queens after they approached a federal agent while armed with knives. On June 17, 2015, during the execution of a search warrant at his residence in Staten Island, Mumuni was arrested after repeatedly stabbing an FBI agent in the torso with a large kitchen knife. Fortunately, the knife did not penetrate the agent’s body armor. During a search of the vehicle used by Mumuni, investigators recovered a second large knife.
“According to the indictment, Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni conspired to provide material support to ISIL and devised a plan to conduct an attack in New York. During his arrest, Mumuni stabbed an FBI agent numerous times, but thankfully the agent’s body armor protected him from the defendant’s attack and the defendant was safely apprehended by law enforcement,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority and we will continue to seek justice against those who conspire to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations – and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals who attempt to harm the brave law enforcement officials who risk their lives to protect us.”
“As alleged in the indictment, both Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni demonstrated their support for ISIL by attacking the law enforcement officers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie. “The arresting officers exercised extraordinary skill and remarkable restraint in subduing the defendants, who will now face the full force of justice in federal courters.”
“These indictments remind us of the dangers faced by law enforcement and the community alike,” said Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez. “The FBI remains vigilant in its pursuit against violence and restrained in its apprehension of such offenders. We are grateful for the safety of our agents and will continue to work to eliminate threats to our country with the help of our law enforcement partners.”
“Stabbing an FBI agent and providing material support to a designated terrorist organization are a recipe for indictment, as alleged,” said Commissioner Bratton. “I commend the agents and detectives from the Manhattan-based Joint Terrorism Task Force and prosecutors in the Eastern District for their work on this case.”
If convicted, Mumuni faces a maximum sentence of 85 years’ imprisonment and Saleh faces a maximum sentence of 65 years’ imprisonment. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda and Ian C. Richardson of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Robert Sander of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section.