Ohio man sentenced to 22 years in prison for providing material support to terrorists
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A 26-year-old Ohio man has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization and to making false statements to the FBI.
According to the FBI, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud sought to go to Syria, train to become a terrorist and then return to the United States and conduct and attack on American soil.
"Thanks to the multi-agency efforts of an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force operating out of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division, the attack never happened," said the FBI in their news release.
Mohamud had an older brother who was already fighting in Syria. Mohamud used the internet to coordinate a trip to Syria to join him in combat.
"Mohamud opened a bank account to collect funds for his brother, got a U.S. passport, bought a one-way ticket to Athens, Greece (with a layover in Istanbul, Turkey), and purchased an Internet-accessible tablet to take with him to the battlefield," said the FBI.
In April of 2014, Mohamud made his way into Syria. Mohamud trained with the "al-Nusrah" on weapons, combat tactics, and began researching potential plots for when he returned to America. In June 2015, Mohamud's brother was killed while fighting in Syria. A few days later, Mohamud returned to America and began recruitment efforts.
“One of the greatest threats is when a person who has been trained by an overseas terror group comes back to the United States,” said Special Agent Stephen Flowers, who investigated the case as part of the FBI Cincinnati’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. “He aligned himself with a group that presents a great risk to us domestically.”
"During an interview with the FBI in February 2015, he lied, telling agents he had never left Istanbul and had not gone to Syria. He was arrested shortly thereafter," said the FBI. "Last year, Mohamud pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization and to making false statements to the FBI. In January, he was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison."
“A case like this is the reason I joined the FBI—to protect Americans so they can live their lives safely,” said Special Agent Ingrid Schmidt, who also worked on the investigation. “Knowing that somebody who wanted to do harm to the U.S. is off the streets and can no longer do those things … it feels good to play a role in the bigger mission of the FBI.”