Third and final Lansing defendant convicted on terrorism charges | Information, sports activities, jobs
GRAND RAPIDS, ME. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that three residents of Lansing, Michigan, were charged with conspiracy to provide material assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”). Today the third and final defendant in the case, Mohamed Haji, pleaded guilty to the federal crime of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. In January 2020, his co-defendants, Muse Muse and Mohamud Muse, pleaded guilty to the same offense.
On January 21, 2019, special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and members of its Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested the defendant Muse Muse at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan after going on a flight to the first of a series of targets en route to Mogadishu, Somalia, with the aim of joining ISIS. Shortly afterwards, his brother Mohamud Muse and his cousin Mohamed Haji were arrested as co-conspirators. According to court documents, between December 2018 and January 2019, Muse Muse coordinated funds with a person he believed was a Somali ISIS fighter to purchase plane tickets to travel to Mogadishu, Somalia, from where he believed he would be an ISIS -Meeting representatives. All three defendants raised funds to provide Muse Muse with travel expenses to join ISIS, all three defendants vowed allegiance to ISIS on recorded videos, and all three submitted their videos to people they believed they would associated with ISIS. In addition, all three defendants participated in numerous discussions throughout the conspiracy, discussing traveling abroad to join ISIS and even adopting fighter aliases by which they would be known in the fight for ISIS.
Muse, Mohamud Muse and Haji were charged by a federal jury on several charges, including conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. This federal offense required the government to demonstrate that Haji: (1) agreed with one or more individuals to provide material assistance or resources (including personnel) to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization; (2) knew that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization or was involved in or engaged in terrorist activity or terrorism; and (3) is a US citizen or part of the crime was committed in the United States. At his hearing before Chief Justice Jonker, Haji admitted each of these elements of the crime.
All three defendants will later be tried by Senior District Judge Robert J. Jonker. The crime is punished with up to 20 years in federal prison. The court will determine the final sentence to be imposed after evaluating the applicable federal sentencing guidelines and taking into account the legal factors of conviction, including the nature and circumstances of the offense; the history and characteristics of each defendant; the gravity of the offense; and the need to promote respect for the law, impose fair punishment, and protect the public from future crimes of any accused.
US Attorney Andrew Birge stated, “There is no higher priority for my office than the detection, prevention and prosecution of terrorism. With this successful investigation and prosecution, the US Attorney General and its law enforcement partners prevented these young men from helping a dangerous international terrorist organization and held them responsible for their conspiracy. Almost 80 countries around the world have committed to this
Eliminate the IS threat. Any person or resource destined for a terrorist organization that we intercept affects that organization’s ability to carry out attacks here and abroad. Every conviction sends a strong deterrent message. ”
“As this case shows, the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations is not yet over. The FBI works every day to identify and disrupt those who support these groups both in the United States and around the world. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue this investigation and hold those who materially support foreign terrorist groups accountable. “ said Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The successful interruption of Muse Muse’s plan to go abroad, and the conviction of those who helped him with that plan, is the result of the hard work and dedication of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which continues to protect it of the public before terrorism. “Attacks.”
The FBI investigation was conducted by Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State University Police Department, Lansing Police Department, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Airport Police, US Marshals Service and the Department of. supports Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration, Federal Air Marshals and Customs and Border Protection.
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