Two Minnesota residents arrested in San Diego accused of trying to get fake travel documents to join ISIS appeared in federal court Monday. They are among six Minnesota men charged with terrorism in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, the latest Westerners accused of traveling or attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.
The six, whom authorities described as friends who met secretly to plan their travels, are accused of conspiracy to provide material support and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The complaint says the men planned to reach Syria by flying to nearby countries from Minneapolis, San Diego or New York City, and lied to federal investigators when they were stopped.
Charged are brothers Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, and Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19; Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21; Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19; Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19; and Guled Ali Omar, 20. All are Somali-Americans, authorities said.
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Daud and Farah, both 21, were arrested Sunday in San Diego at an undisclosed location after they drove from Minnesota to San Diego, according to a criminal complaint. They appeared in San Diego federal court Monday for a preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford, where they did not enter pleas and were appointed defense attorneys.
"These men then planned to cross into Mexico and travel to Syria," said Rick Thornton, Special-Agent-in-Charge in Minnesota, during a press conference Monday.
At the hearing, prosecutors argued both of them were flight risks and a danger to society. The men were held without bail. The judge said the men can stay in San Diego and be sentenced if they decide to plead guilty, but if they want to face a trial, they will be sent back to Minnesota.
"These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization," Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference Monday.
They are the latest people from Minnesota to be charged in an investigation stretching back months into the recruitment of Westerners by ISIS. Authorities said earlier that a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with militants in the past year, and at least one has died.
The two men arrested in San Diego will be detained until April 24, where they will appear in court for their detention hearing. On April 30, they will face an ID hearing.
Three of those charged in the newest complaint — Mohamed Farah, Abdurahman and Musse — were stopped at a New York City airport in November along with 19-year-old Hamza Ahmed, but they were not charged until now.
Ahmed was indicted on charges of lying to the FBI during a terrorism investigation, conspiring to provide material support to IS, and attempting to provide material support. He has pleaded not guilty.
A criminal complaint unsealed Monday charged the men with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.