Aaron Travis Daniels, aka Harun Muhammad, aka Abu Yusef, 20, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested today for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The arrest was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division and agencies participating in the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
JTTF agents arrested Daniels as he attempted to leave Columbus with an alleged eventual destination of Libya, for the purpose of joining ISIL. The criminal complaint against him also alleges that Daniels sent $250 in January 2016 to an ISIL operative and had communicated his commitment to violent overseas jihad.
The complaint alleges that Daniels set up email addresses and a social media account using aliases and expressed his interest in violent jihad and traveling overseas in various communications.
The complaint also alleges that Daniels wired money to an intermediary for Abu Isa Al-Amriki, a now-deceased ISIL member, recruiter and external attack planner. Daniels allegedly told an undercover FBI employee that he wanted to travel to Trinidad as the beginning of his trip to Libya, where Daniels said Al-Amriki had suggested he go to support jihad. On Nov. 5, Daniels bought an airline ticket to travel from Columbus to Houston, Texas, and on to Trinidad. The flight was scheduled to leave Columbus today.
JTTF officers arrested Daniels at the airport, before boarding his flight. Daniels appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp who ordered him held without bond.
If convicted of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, Daniels faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Congress prescribes the maximum potential sentences and it is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge. A federal criminal complaint merely contains allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The Southern Ohio JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio State University Police Department, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the John Glenn International Airport Police Department, the Westerville Police Department and the Columbus Division of Fire.
Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord and U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the JTTF for its investigation of this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica W. Knight of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Gibson of the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, and Trial Attorneys Michael Dittoe and Taryn M. Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.