Third and last defendant Lansing convicted of terrorism | News, Sports, Jobs
BIG RAPIDS, MICH. – US Prosecutor Andrew Birge today announced that three residents of Lansing, Michigan have been convicted of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”). Today, the third and final defendant in this case, Mohamed Haji, pleaded guilty to the federal crime of conspiring 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 accused Muse Muse at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after checking in for a flight to the first of a series of destinations en route to Mogadishu, Somalia, in an attempt to join ISIS. Soon after, 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 with an individual he believed to be a Somali ISIS fighter to wire funds to be used to purchase plane tickets to travel to Mogadishu, Somalia, where he believed he would meet with an ISIS representative. All three defendants raised money to provide Muse Muse with the funds to travel to join ISIS, all three defendants pledged allegiance to ISIS in recorded videos, and all three submitted their videos to people they thought they were associated with ISIS. Additionally, throughout the plot, the three defendants participated in numerous discussions in which they discussed traveling abroad to join ISIS and even adopted fighter pseudonyms they would be known by when. ‘they were fighting for ISIS.
Muse, Mohamud Muse and Haji have been indicted by a federal grand jury on several counts, including conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. This federal offense required the government to prove that Haji: (1) agreed with one or more individuals to provide material support or resources (including personnel) to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization; (2) knew that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization or had engaged or is engaging in terrorist or terrorist activities; and (3) is a US national or part of the offense occurred in the United States. During his plea change hearing before Chief Justice Jonker, Haji admitted each of these elements of the crime.
All three defendants will be sentenced by United States District Chief Justice Robert J. Jonker at a later date. The crime carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. The court will determine the ultimate sentence to be imposed after evaluating applicable federal sentencing guidelines and considering sentencing factors, including the nature and circumstances of the offense; the history and characteristics of each defendant; the seriousness of the offense; and the need to promote respect for the law, provide fair punishment, and protect the public from future crimes by each accused.
US Attorney Andrew Birge said, “There is no higher priority for my office than detecting, preventing and prosecuting terrorism. As a result of this successful investigation and prosecution, the United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners stopped these young men from helping a dangerous international terrorist organization and held them accountable for plotting to do it. Nearly 80 countries around the world have committed to
eliminate the threat posed by ISIS. Every person and every resource going to a terrorist organization that we intercept has an impact on that organization’s ability to carry out attacks here and abroad. Each conviction sends a powerful message of deterrence.
“As this case shows, the threat from foreign terrorist organizations has not ceased. The FBI works every day to identify and disrupt those acting on behalf of these groups in the United States and around the world. The FBI will continue to aggressively conduct these investigations and hold accountable those who provide material support to foreign terrorist groups, ”he added. said Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Detroit. “The successful disruption of Muse’s overseas travel plan and the belief of those who assisted him in that plan are the result of the hard work and dedication of the FBI Joint Task Force on Terrorism, which remains determined to protect the public from terror. attacks. “
The FBI investigation was assisted by Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, State University Police Department of Michigan, Lansing Police Department, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Airport Police, US Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration, Federal Air Marshals, and Customs and Border Protection.