Three Co-Conspirators Have Already Pleaded Guilty; Five Expected to Go to Trial in May 2016
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of Eagan, Minnesota, was charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), announced 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.
“Abdirizak Warsame conspired with others to travel to Syria to fight with ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and to bring to justice those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
“This defendant is the 10th Twin Cities’ man charged as part of a broad conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “The FBI and prosecutors in my office continue to work without pause to keep Minnesotans safe and bring these defendants to justice.”
“This arrest demonstrates the commitment to U.S. national security by the members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said Special Agent in Charge Thornton. “The members of this task force work in concert to ensure the protection of the United States and its citizens every day. These efforts will continue as long as threats persist.”
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, in spring 2014, Warsame and his co-conspirators began meeting to watch propaganda videos that glorified religious violence and to discuss their aspirations to travel to Syria to join ISIL. Members of the group, including Warsame, discussed ways to leave the United States and travel to Syria, despite the fact that law enforcement was intensely scrutinizing the group. At one such meeting, Guled Omar was elected “emir,” or leader, of the group. Later in 2014, when Omar was planning to depart for Syria, Omar appointed Warsame to replace him as emir for the remaining co-conspirators.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, during the same period, Warsame provided $200 to a co-conspirator, Adnan Farah, so that Farah could obtain an expedited U.S. passport to travel overseas to join ISIL. Warsame also applied for an expedited passport during this time, but his application was initially denied.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, Warsame repeatedly attempted to obtain a telephone number or other contact information of ISIL members, including ISIL member H.K. In June 2014, Warsame specifically attempted to obtain this contact information so that he could pass it along to Y.J., who was attempting to travel from Turkey to Syria to join ISIL.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, in April 2015, Warsame actively encouraged Omar and other co-conspirators to travel to Syria through Mexico, but did not plan to join their group because he was planning to travel with his family to East Africa. From East Africa, Warsame planned to either break free from his family and travel to Syria, or wait in Somalia for a time when, he believed, al-Shabaab would pledge allegiance to ISIL, thus expanding ISIL to Somalia.
According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, on April 2, 2015, Warsame recounted a conversation he had with Abdi Nur, before Nur left the United States for Syria. In that exchange, Warsame told Omar that he proposed to Nur that they rob people in order to finance their travel to Syria, which Nur rejected and suggested instead that they rob the government.
The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by members of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Minneapolis.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and John F. Docherty of the District of Minnesota and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.