A Bergen County, New Jersey, man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey and Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel of the FBI’s Newark, New Jersey, Division made the announcement.
Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton of the District of New Jersey to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to ISIL. He remains detained without bail.
“Samuel Rahamin Topaz conspired to provide material support to ISIL and sought to travel overseas with others to fight on behalf of the designated foreign terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority, and we remain committed to stemming the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bringing to justice those who attempt to provide material support to terrorists.”
“The crimes Samuel Topaz admitted today threatened the safety of Americans here and abroad,” said U.S. Attorney. “Our efforts to cut off the flow of fighters and resources to known terrorist organizations will not stop with his guilty plea. We have charges pending against his conspirators and remain vigilant against these terrorist operations.”
“Samuel Topaz admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) today in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey,” said Special Agent in Charge Frankel. “Now Topaz will face up to 20 years in prison rather than take up arms overseas. Disrupting recruitment efforts by terrorist organizations and preventing acts of terror remains the FBI’s number one priority, and due to the unflagging efforts of the Newark FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force this threat was eliminated. I ask the citizens of New Jersey to remain vigilant and contact the FBI if they see or hear something suspicious.”
According to documents filed in this case and related cases and statements made in court:
Topaz admitted that prior to his arrest by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) on June 17, 2015, he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL and had saved money for that purpose. Topaz discussed plans to join ISIL with Nader Saadeh, Alaa Saadeh and Munther Omar Saleh, and he admitted that at various times, each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL. Topaz also admitted that they all watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam.
On May 5, 2015, Nader Saadeh departed the United States with plans to travel overseas to join ISIL as part of the conspiracy, according to Topaz’s statements in court today. Topaz further admitted that he and others planned to travel overseas separately, meet up with Nader Saadeh and then travel together to join ISIL. After Nader Saadeh left the United States, Topaz met with Saleh and contacted Alaa Saadeh to discuss those plans.
Topaz admitted to knowing that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization taking over territory overseas, expelling non-Muslims from their homes and executing individuals who did not obey ISIL’s commands.
The count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a statutory maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2015.
Topaz’s alleged co-conspirators are being prosecuted and are currently in federal custody. Nader and Alaa Saadeh have been charged in separate criminal complaints brought in the District of New Jersey with conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, among other charges. Saleh has been indicted on terrorism-related charges brought in the Eastern District of New York. The charges and allegations against them are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s JTTF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys L. Judson Welle, Dennis C. Carletta and Francisco J. Navarro of the District of New Jersey, with assistance the assistance of Trial Attorney Robert Sander of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.