Skip to comments.Terror Charges Unsealed in Minnesota Against Eight Defendants, Justice Department Announces
Posted on 11/23/2009 2:17:37 PM PST by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
Terror Charges Unsealed in Minnesota Against Eight Defendants, Justice Department Announces
The Justice Department announced that terrorism charges have been unsealed today in the District of Minnesota against eight defendants. According to the charging documents, the offenses include providing financial support to those who traveled to Somalia to fight on behalf of al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization; attending terrorist training camps operated by al-Shabaab; and fighting on behalf of al-Shabaab.
Thus far, 14 defendants have been charged in the District of Minnesota in indictments or criminal complaints that have been unsealed and brought in connection with an ongoing investigation into the recruitment of persons from U.S. communities to train with or fight on behalf of extremist groups in Somalia. Four of these defendants have previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The charges were announced today by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; B Todd Jones, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minneapolis; and Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The recruitment of young people from Minneapolis and other U.S. communities to fight for extremists in Somalia has been the focus of intense investigation for many months, Assistant Attorney General Kris said. While the charges unsealed today underscore our progress to date, this investigation is ongoing. Those who sign up to fight or recruit for al-Shabaabs terror network should be aware that they may will end up as defendants in the United States or casualties of the Somali conflict.
According to court documents, between September 2007 and October 2009, approximately 20 young men, all but one of Somali descent, left the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area and traveled to Somalia, where they trained with al-Shabaab, a designated terrorist organization. Many of them ultimately fought with al-Shabaab against Ethiopian forces, African Union troops, and the internationally-supported Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
Court documents also state that the first group of six men traveled to Somalia in December 2007. Prior to their departure, the six men, as well as others in the Minneapolis area, raised money for the trips and held meetings in which they made phone calls to alleged co-conspirators in Somalia.
Upon arriving in Somalia, the men from Minneapolis allegedly stayed at safe-houses in Somalia and attended an al-Shabaab training camp. The al-Shabaab training camp included dozens of other young ethnic Somalis from Somalia, elsewhere in Africa, Europe, and the United States. Purportedly, the trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab, and Western instructors as to small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and military-style tactics. Allegedly, the trainees also were indoctrinated with anti-Ethiopian, anti-American, anti-Isreali, and anti-Western beliefs. Two men from Minneapolis who completed the training camp later participated in an ambush of Ethiopian troops.
According to court documents, on October 29, 2008, Shirwa Ahmed, one of the men who left Minnesota in December 2007 and attended the al-Shabaab training camp, took part in one of five simultaneous suicide attacks on targets in northern Somalia. The attacks appeared to have been coordinated. Shirwa Mohamud Ahmed, also known as Shirwa, drove an explosive-laden Toyota truck into an office of the Puntland Intelligence Service in Bossasso, Puntland. Other targets included a second Puntland Intelligence Service Office in Bossasso, the Presidential Palace, the United Nations Development Program office, and the Ethiopian Trade Mission in Hargeisa. Including the suicide bombers, approximately twenty people were killed in the attacks.
Today in Minnesota, United States Attorney B. Todd Jones said of these cases, The sad reality is that the vibrant Somali community here in Minneapolis has lost many of its sons to fighting in Somalia. These young men have been recruited to fight in a foreign war by individuals and groups using violence against government troops and civilians. Those tempted to fight on behalf of or provide support to any designated terrorist group should know they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Joining U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones was Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who added, It is through the sustained and dedicated efforts of the Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force and the support of the Somali-American community that today we are able to disclose some of the siginificant progress we have achieved in this critical investigation. At the same time, I emphasize the sole focus of our efforts in this matter has been the criminal conduct of a small number of mainly Somali-American individuals and not the broader Somali-American community itself, which as consistently expressed deep concern about this pattern of recruitment activity in support of al-Shabaab.
Charging Documents Unsealed
The Justice Department announced that three charging documents were unsealed this morning in the District of Minnesota:
United States v. Mahamud Said Omar, 09-CR-242
On August 20, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Mahamud Said Omar with terrorism offenses. According to the indictment, from September 2007 through the present, Omar, who is a Somali citizen but was granted permanent U.S. resident status in 1994, conspired with others to provide financial assistance as well as personnel to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations. On November 8, 2009, law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands arrested Omar pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant. The United States has filed its request for extradition. According to documents unsealed this morning, including affidavits in support of the United States request for extradition of Omar from the Netherlands, Omar provided money to young men to travel from Minneapolis to Somalia to train with and fight for al-Shabaab. Omar also allegedly visited an al-Shabaab safe-house and provided hundreds of dollars to fund the purchase of AK-47 rifles for men from Minneapolis.
Omar currently is in custody in the Netherlands.
United States v. Ahmed Ali Omar, Khalid Abshir, Zakaria Maruf, Mohamed Hassan and Mustafa Salat , 09-CR-50
On August 20, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Ahmed Ali Omar, Khalid Abshir, Zakaria Maruf, Mohamed Hassan, and Mustafa Salat with terrorism-related offenses. These men were charged in the summer of 2009 with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations; conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, and injure people outside the United States; possessing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. The indictments that detail the charges filed against these co-conspirators also were unsealed today.
None of the five defendants is in custody. All five are believed to be outside of the United States.
United States v. Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax United States v. Abdiweli Yassin Isse
On October 9, 2009, a criminal complaint was filed, charging Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax and Abdiweli Yassin Isse with conspiring to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons outside the United States. The affidavit filed in support of the complaint states that in the fall of 2007, Faarax and others met at a Minneapolis mosque to telephone co-conspirators in Somalia to discuss the need for Minnesota-based co-conspirators to go to Somalia to fight the Ethiopians. The affidavit also alleges that later that fall, Faarax attended a meeting with co-conspirators at a Minneapolis residence, where he encouraged others to travel to Somalia to fight and told them how he had experienced true brotherhood while fighting a jihad in Somalia. Subsequently, Faarax was interviewed three times by authorities and each time denied fighting or knowing anyone who had fought in Somalia.
The criminal complaint states that Abdiweli Yassin Isse also encouraged others to travel to Somalia to fight the Ethiopians. He purportedly described at a gathering of co-conspirators his own plans to fight jihad against Ethiopians, and he raised money to buy airplane tickets for others to make the trip to Somalia for the same purpose. In raising that money, he allegedly misled community members into thinking they were contributing money to send young men to Saudi Arabia to study the Koran. The complaint that details the charges filed against these co-conspirators also was unsealed today.
Faarax and Isse are not in custody. Both men are believed to be outside of the United States.
The Justice Department also announced that four residents of Minneapolis have entered guilty pleas in connection with this investigation, one resident of Minneapolis awaits trial on charges that he made false statements to the FBI, and one resident of Minneapolis was just recently indicted on related charges.
United States v. Kamal Hassan, 09-CR-38
On February 19, 2009, Kamal Said Hassan pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A, and one count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, respectively. On August 12, 2009, Hassan pled guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI.
Hassan currently is in custody awaiting sentencing.
United States v. Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 09-CR-50 United States v. Salah Osman Ahmed, 09-CR-50
On April 24, 2009, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse entered a guilty plea to one count of providing material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A. On July 28, 2009, Salah Osman Ahmed entered a guilty plea to one count of providing material support to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A.
Isse and Ahmed currently are in custody awaiting sentencing.
United States v. Adarus Abdulle Ali
On November 2, 2009, Adarus Abdulle Ali pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of perjury for making false statements to a federal grand jury in December of 2008, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623.
Ali has been released pending a sentencing hearing.
Additional Pending Cases
United States v. Abdow Munye Abdow
On October 13, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Abdow Munye Abdow with making false statements to the FBI, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2). The indictment alleges that on October 8, 2009, Abdow lied to FBI agents when he was questioned after being stopped during a road trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas. Abdow purportedly told the agents only one other person was traveling with him when, according to officials, four people were accompanying him. In addition, Adbow allegedly told the agents he did not know how the rental car in which he was riding had been financed when, according to officials, he had used his own debit card to pay for the car.
Abdow has been released pending trial.
United States v. Omer Abdi Mohamed
On November 19, 2009, Omer Abdi Mohamed was arrested on charges that he conspired to provide material support to terrorists; that he provided material support to terrorists; and that he conspired to kill, kidnap, main, and injure persons outside the United States.
Mohamed was released on bond pending further proceedings.
The investigation into the recruitment of young men to join al-Shabaab and those supporting that recruiting effort has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance and cooperation of the Dutch KLPD; the Dutch Ministry of Justice; Judith Friedman at the Justice Departments Office of International Affairs; the U.S. Department of State; the embassies at Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanaa, Yemen; and The Hague in the Netherlands; and the Department of Defense. The case is being prosecuted by W. Anders Folk, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and William M. Narus, from the Justice Departments Counterterrorism Section, with assistance having been provided by David Bitkower, formerly of the Counterterrorism Section and currently an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.
OTHER THREADS OF INTEREST:
Wow. has ol’ Minnesota changed in 30 years or what?
Immigration sure has spiced up the population.
Heck, my old hometown had some folks convicted for drive-by shootings recently.. gang activity.. boy , things sure have changed.
Used to be teepeeing trees and blowing up mailboxes was the news.. now it’s arrests of a whole different kind of foreigner.
You can thank yer friendly local liberals for this, you betcha’!
I’d be checking the north woods for training camps, lots of remote spots out there , send in a predator or two to be safe. ;-)
Nah, it’s too cold up in the North Woods, from reports I’ve these are generally citified Somali teenagers who were recruited in inner city areas - such as Cedar Riverside, right near the U of M. They’d really stand out, up on the “scandahooovian” Iron Range, ya know? Jah.
Ali has been released pending a sentencing hearing.
They released him. Good plan, that.
Good point. the temperature difference must be a shocker.. it can sure get cold .. and then ya have the wildlife to contend with, moose and wolves and deer mostly but .. I lost track of how large the numbers of emigres is to the Metro area. it’s been a magnet for all peoples for years..
In Re: Lutes
No good deed goes unpunished!
I don't remember the details, but I'm certain I didn't see anything way far north mentioned, nothing like Duluth or even Branerd.
If they were in the north woods....someone I know would know about it, if I didn’t.......
So, in a nutshell....8 new indictments, 1 in custodt in the Netherlands and 7 on the lam, most likely in Somalia....
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
When we catch them, we catch terrorists. But when we don't, whether a Muslim killer at Ft. Hood, or a Muslim killer attacking a Jewish center in Seattle, or a Muslim sniper attacking DC and VA in hopes of setting up training camps in Canada, terrorism has nothing to do with it.
No worries about the north woods. With 150,000 armed deer
hunters out there every year, they have no place to hide.
Well now, your post rounds out the feedback.
Thank you Lockbar.
(Lurkers: Insert wry grin here.)
July 16, 2010
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Chanhassen Man Sentenced for Obstructing Investigation of Missing Somali Men
A 26-year-old Chanhassen man was sentenced earlier today in federal court in Minneapolis for obstructing a FBI and grand jury investigation into the recruitment of young men in the United States to train and fight for extremist groups in Somalia. United States District Court Judge James M. Rosenbaum sentenced Abdow Munye Abdow to an eight-month split sentence (four months of confinement; four months of house arrest) in connection to his crime. Abdow was indicted on October 13, 2009, and pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information on May 4, 2010.
Todays sentencing constitutes another positive step in our continuing efforts to bring the broader matter to full resolution, said Ralph S. Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI. The American public should know that the FBI remains steadfast in its commitment to identify and mitigate threats to our national security that emanate here or elsewhere.
In his plea agreement, Abdow admitted that on October 8, 2009, he obstructed a FBI and grand jury investigation by making false statements to FBI agents, who had interviewed him. Specifically, Abdow told the agents that although other men accompanied him in a rental car from Minnesota to California in early October, he did not know their names, nor did he know who paid for the rental car. In truth, four men traveled with Abdow in October from Minnesota to San Diego, California, where three of the men were dropped off. Abdow knew the names or nicknames of all of the men as well as the name of the person who paid for the rental vehicle. In fact, the car was rented with a debit card provided by Abdow himself.
This case arose from a FBI and grand jury investigation into whether individuals in the U.S. are providing material support to al-Shabaab, a group designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. As part of the investigation, the FBI learned that on October 6, United States Department of Justice 2009, a highway patrol officer conducted a traffic stop involving Abdow about 10 miles north of Las Vegas. The trooper later reported to the FBI that Abdow had four men with him in the car. The trooper also said the men claimed to be on their way to San Diego to attend a friends wedding. However, they provided inconsistent explanations as to how they knew one another, and they seemed confused as to the identity of the person getting married as well as the location of their lodging in San Diego. As a result, the trooper asked for and obtained permission to search the vehicle. He found a passport and $4,000 in cash. He also was able to identify two of the men with Abdow.
On October 8, those two men were further identified by a U.S. Customs Border Patrol officer as two of three people dropped off by a taxi at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in San Ysidro, just south of San Diego. The men had airline tickets and told the officer they were flying from Tijuana to Mexico City.
On that same day, back in Minnesota, Abdow was interviewed at his place of work by FBI agents. Prior to the interview, the agents reportedly informed Abdow that they were conducting an investigation into the disappearance of local Somali men. Abdow was not placed under arrest at that time.
During the interview, Abdow initially told the agents he had traveled out west with only one friend. After the agents repeatedly asked him if he was telling the truth, Abdow conceded that others may have been in the car, but he did not know how many or their names. He also said he had no idea who paid for the rental vehicle. Later, in his plea agreement, Abdow admitted that he lied during that interview.
The investigation into the recruitment of young men to train with and fight for the terrorist group al-Shabaab is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations Joint Terrorism Task Force. The investigation into this specific case was assisted by the Carver County Sheriffs Office and the Nevada Highway Patrol.
This case was prosecuted by W. Anders Folk, Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Minnesota, and William M. Narus, from the Justice Departments Counterterrorism Section.
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Minneapolis Man Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Offense
U.S. Attorneys Office
July 18, 2011
District of Minnesota
MINNEAPOLISEarlier today in federal court, a 26-year-old Minneapolis man pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim abroad. Omer Abdi Mohamed, also known as Brother Omer and Galeyr, who was indicted on November 17, 2009, entered his plea before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.
In his plea agreement, Mohamed admitted being a member of a conspiracy that recruited young men of Somali descent to travel to Somalia to fight against Ethiopian troops, who were in Somalia assisting the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Mohamed admitted assisting the men in planning their trips, knowing that once in Somalia, the men intended to murder, kidnap, or maim Ethiopian and Somali government troops. Following the entry of the plea, United States Attorney B. Todd Jones said, Those involved in this conspiracy, including Omer Abdi Mohamed, violated the law in a dangerous and misguided effort to support a terrorist organization. In the process, they tore apart many Somali-American families. Parents were left to fret over the disappearance of their young sons, who often left home without a word. In some instances family members discovered what happened to their relatives only by watching Internet videos being used as propaganda by al Shabaab. I doubt many of us can imagine the feelings in such circumstances, and I can only hope that the criminal prosecutions we continue to take against those involved, including Omer Abdi Mohamed, will help deter these ill-advised actions in the future.
Between September and December of 2007, Mohamed admittedly attended meetings at a Minneapolis mosque, restaurant, and private residence, where he and his co-conspirators formed a secret plan that called for Somali men residing in Minneapolis to travel to Somalia to fight. He also facilitated the travel of several of these young men, including assisting them in obtaining plane tickets as well as the false itinerary needed by one man to mislead his family about the purpose of his travel.
In his plea agreement, Mohamed further admitted being present in Minneapolis when money was raised to mobilize groups of men to travel to Somalia. Many of the donations came from unsuspecting members of the Somali-American community, who were told the money was going to be used for Somalia relief efforts.
The indictment of Mohamed arose out of the Operation Rhino investigation, which has focused on young ethnic Somali men from the Minneapolis area who were recruited to fight with al Shabaab against the TFG and African Union peacekeeping troops in Somalia. The earliest groups of identified travelers departed the United States in October and December 2007, while others left in February 2008, August 2008, November 2008, and October 2009. Upon arriving in Somalia, the men resided in al Shabaab safe-houses in Southern Somalia until constructing an al Shabaab training camp, where they were trained. Senior members of al Shabaab and a senior member of al Qaeda in East Africa conducted the training.
In July 2008, men from Minneapolis as well as other Americans participated in an al Shabaab ambush of Ethiopian troops. Then, on October 29, 2008, one of the December 2007 travelers from Minneapolis, Shirwa Ahmed, detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device as part of an apparently coordinated series of five suicide bombings in Bosaso and Hargeisa, Somalia. In doing so, Ahmed is believed to have become the first American suicide bomber in Somalia. Then, in June 2011, Farah Mohamed Beledi, one of the indicted October 2009 travelers, was killed at a checkpoint in Somalia as he attempted to detonate his suicide vest.
This is the sixth guilty plea in connection with the investigation. Kamal Said Hassan, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, and Salah Osman Ahmed returned from Somalia to the United States and have been convicted of terrorism offenses. Adarus Abdulle Ali and Abdow Munye Abdow have been convicted of obstruction offenses. Mohamud Said Omar is in the custody of authorities in the Netherlands pending extradition, and Ahmed Hussein Mahamud is in custody in the United States pending trial. An indictment of eight men believed to be fugitives in Somalia also was unsealed late last year.
For his crime, Omer Abdi Mohamed faces a potential maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. Chief Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations Joint Terrorism Task Force, and it is being prosecuted by United States Attorney B. Todd Jones, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats, and Trial Attorney William M. Narus of the United States Department of Justice National Security Division.
United States v. Mahamud Said Omar: An Important New Al-Shabaab Case in Federal Court
by Robert Chesney
(August 15, 2011)
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Man Extradited from Netherlands Appears in Federal Court on Charges of Supporting Terrorists
U.S. Attorneys Office
August 15, 2011
MINNEAPOLISEarlier today in federal court in Minneapolis, Mahamud Said Omar made his initial appearance on charges related to supporting al Shabaab, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization with ties to al Qaeda. He appeared before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.
On August 20, 2009, Omar, age 45, formerly of Minneapolis, was indicted in federal court in the District of Minnesota with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and foreign terrorist organizations as well as conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad. Omar, also known as Mohamud Said Omar and Sharif Omar, was arrested in the Netherlands in November of 2009. He was extradited from the Netherlands to the United States earlier this week.
The 2009 indictment states that from September of 2007 through August of 2009, Omar, a Somali citizen who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, conspired with others to provide financial assistance as well as personnel to al Shabaab. Court documents allege that Omar gave money to young men so they could travel from Minneapolis to Somalia to train with and fight for al Shabaab. Omar also allegedly visited an al Shabaab safe house in Marka, south of Mogadishu, where he provided the Minneapolis men with hundreds of dollars for the purchase of AK-47 assault rifles to use in their efforts.
This case arose out of Operation Rhino, an investigation that focused on the disappearance of young ethnic Somali men who lived in the Minneapolis area and were ultimately found to have been recruited to fight with al Shabaab back in Somalia. The earliest groups of identified travelers departed the United States in October and December 2007, while others left in February 2008, August 2008, November 2008, and October 2009. Upon arriving in Somalia, the men resided in al Shabaab safe houses in Southern Somalia until constructing an al Shabaab training camp, where they were trained by senior members of al Shabaab along with a senior member of al Qaeda.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBIs Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force. The United States Attorneys Office for the District of Minnesota is grateful for the assistance provided in this case by the Dutch National Police Agency (KLPD), the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, the Office of the Dutch Public Prosecutor, the Justice Departments Office of International Affairs, the State Department, and the FBIs legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague in the Netherlands. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles J. Kovats and John Docherty and Trial Attorney William M. Narus of the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.