FBI agents in Brooklyn have arrested three men for attempting to travel abroad to join ISIS, according to CBS News. The trio had discussed launching attacks domestically if they were unable to travel to join them, authorities said.
The following was released by the FBI:
Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) announced that earlier today a criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan; Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Kazakhstan; and Abror Habibov, 30, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan, with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization. The initial appearances of Juraboev and Saidakhmetov are scheduled for later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in Brooklyn. Habibov’s initial appearance will be held later today in Jacksonville, Florida.As alleged in the complaint, Juraboev and Saidakhmetov first came to the attention of law enforcement during the summer of 2014 after they expressed their online support for the establishment by force of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The investigation revealed that Juraboev and Saidakhmetov subsequently devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of waging jihad on behalf of ISIL. Saidakhmetov was arrested early this morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul. Juraboev had previously purchased a plane ticket to travel from New York to Istanbul and was scheduled to leave the United States on March 29, 2015. Habibov operated a domestic support network that helped fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIL.
As alleged in the complaint, Juraboev and Saidakhmetov intended to commit acts of terrorism on American soil if they were unable to travel abroad to join ISIL. In an August 2014 posting on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIL’s ideology, Juraboev offered to kill the President of the United States if ordered to do so by ISIL. More recently, Saidakhmetov expressed his intent to buy a machine gun and shoot police officers and FBI agents if thwarted in his plan to join ISIL in Syria.
“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch. “As alleged in the complaint, two of the defendants in this case sought to travel to Syria to join ISIL but were prepared to wage violent jihad here in the United States if they were unable to travel. Another defendant allegedly provided financial assistance and encouragement and operated a domestic network of individuals willing to support ISIL’s cause. We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and those who support them. Anyone who threatens our citizens and our allies, here or abroad, will face the full force of American justice.” Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI and the NYPD.
“The charges against Juraboev, Saidakhmetov and Habibov reflect our commitment to finding those who wish to provide material support to ISIL, as well as those committed to fighting on behalf of ISIL, either at home or abroad, and preventing them from doing so,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters and financial resources to terrorist organizations operating in Iraq and Syria. I would like to commend all those whose tireless efforts helped bring these charges.”
“The defendants looked to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, by flying to Turkey in a vain attempt to evade detection. And several of the defendants planned to commit acts of terror here—in America—if they could not travel, to include killing FBI agents,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez. “The defendants violated the true tenants of their faith in pursuit of their radical, violent agenda. We rely on help from the community, the public and religious leaders to be mindful of those who could be radicalized. We cannot do this alone.”
“ISIL calls on its followers to come fight for the terrorist organization in Syria, and in messages to followers outside Syria, ISIL has called on them to attack police, intelligence officers or the military in their home countries including the United States,” said Commissioner Bratton. “By pledging allegiance to ISIL, these defendants conspired to fight for a designated foreign terrorist organization either in Syria, or even New York”. Bratton commended the work of the detectives and agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the guidance of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, throughout the investigation.”
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda and Amanda Hector, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Danya Atiyeh of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
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