Mufid A. Elfgeeh, a Rochester resident, was indicted yesterday and charged with attempting to aid ISIS by helping to send three men to Syria who told him they were planning to “engage in violent jihad.” He was also charged with illegally possessing firearms with silencers and plotting to kill members of the U.S. military. His arrest was part of a sting operation. The men who he believed were trying to go to Syria were actually working with the federal government.
The Justice Department said that no service members were ever in danger.
The authorities said that in the last year Mr. Elfgeeh had taken “several steps to prepare the men for the trip,” including sending $600 to a person in Yemen to assist the men in traveling to Syria from Yemen.
Mr. Elfgeeh told one of the men that he was thinking about getting a gun, ammunition and a bulletproof vest and would “just go around and start shooting,” the Justice Department said. Later, Mr. Elfgeeh gave the man $1,050 in cash to buy two handguns with silencers. In May, Mr. Elfgeeh was given the weapons and was then arrested by the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder said of the case:
We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to ISIL and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans. As this case shows, our agents and prosecutors are using all the investigative tools at our disposal to break up these plots before individuals can put their plans into action.
We are focused on breaking up these activities on the front end, before supporters of ISIL can make good on plans to travel to the region or recruit sympathizers to this cause.