A Rochester, N.Y., man was indicted Wednesday on charges of attempting to help the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL) and attempting to kill US soldiers, the Department of Justice announced.
A federal grand jury in Rochester returned a seven-count indictment on 30-year-old Mufid A. Elfgeeh. He is charged with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS; one count of attempted murder of current and former members of the United States military; one count of possessing firearms equipped with silencers in furtherance of a crime of violence; and two counts of receipt and possession of unregistered firearm silencers.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of at least 10 years.
“We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to ISIL and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement announcing the indictment.
“As this case shows, our agents and prosecutors are using all the investigative tools at our disposal to break up these plots before individuals can put their plans into action. We are focused on breaking up these activities on the front end, before supporters of ISIL can make good on plans to travel to the region or recruit sympathizers to this cause.”
According to court documents, Elfgeeh attempted to help three people — two of whom were working with the FBI — to travel to Syria to join ISIS. According to a search warrant for Elfgeeh’s arrest, law-enforcement officials first took note of his Twitter postings appearing to suggest support for various terror groups.
One tweet he posted, for example, read that “al-Qa’ida said it loud and clear: we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people.” In another, he urged everyone to donate one-third of their salary to jihadist groups.
In early 2013, the FBI began working with its first confidential source as part of its investigation into Elfgeeh. Later in November, the bureau added a second confidential source. Sometime in 2013, according to court documents, Elfgeeh encouraged both of the sources to travel to Syria to “engage in violent jihad.”
As part of the plan to kill members of the US military, Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from one of the FBI’s confidential sources. The FBI said the guns were rendered inoperable before the source gave them to the suspect.
Elfgeeh’s indictment comes days after the Justice Department launched a series of pilot programs in cities to help counter the threat of violent extremists. The Defence Department has said it believes that more than 100 US citizens have traveled overseas to join ISIS alone.
Here’s the full search warrant:
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