Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Fourth Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL
Five Co-Defendants Expected to Go to Trial in May 2016
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of Egan, Minnesota, pleaded guilty today to an information charging him with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The defendant pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis of the District of Minnesota.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger of the District of Minnesota and Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division made the announcement.
“With his guilty plea, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame has admitted to conspiring to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Warsame was part of a group of individuals who sought to travel to Syria to fight with the designated foreign terrorist organization. The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and hold accountable those who conspire to provide material support to terrorists.”
“ISIL recruiting in Minnesota is an ongoing problem,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “Federal law enforcement and our local partners remain dedicated to ending terror recruitment in our state. One of the important factors we believe will help stop the recruiting pipeline is for those who have been charged to take responsibility for their crimes. I am encouraged that today Mr. Warsame is doing just that. He has now taken the first step to help himself begin the process of rehabilitation and help our entire community begin to heal.”
“Preventing terrorism in the United States or against U.S. interests remain the FBI’s top priority,” said Special Agent in Charge Thornton. “This includes identifying individuals who aspire to travel overseas to fight on behalf of foreign terrorist organizations such as ISIL. Every person we stop from joining ISIL is one less person ISIL has to conduct acts of terror and the atrocities they are known for. This Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation which culminated in today’s guilty plea was the result of collaboration with our state, local, and federal partners.”
According to the defendant’s guilty plea, throughout early 2014, Warsame participated in several meetings with a group of individuals who wished to travel to Syria to join ISIL. Warsame and his co-conspirators discussed means of funding travel to Syria and potential routes from Minnesota to Syria that would best elude law enforcement. In April 2014, Warsame applied for an expedited passport with the intent of using the passport to travel overseas to join ISIL and in that same month, provided approximately $200 to co-conspirator Adnan Farah for fees associated with Farah’s expedited passport application. Warsame knew Farah planned to use the passport to travel to Syria to join ISIL.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea, during a May 2014 meeting between Warsame and his co-conspirators, Warsame accepted the position of “emir,” or leader, of the group. Guled Ali Omar had previously been “emir,” but was at that time planning to depart for Syria to join ISIL.
According to the plea, in June 2014, Warsame obtained a phone number for H.K., who at the time was an ISIL fighter, and Warsame passed the contact information along to Y.J., who was then attempting to travel from Turkey to Syria to join ISIL.
In April 2015, according to his guilty plea, Warsame participated in a series of meetings with co-conspirators Omar, Abdirahman Daud, Mohamed Farah and Adnan Farah. At one of the meetings, Warsame repeatedly encouraged Omar to travel to Syria to join ISIL.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by members of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and John Docherty of the District of Minnesota with assistance provided by the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.