nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Topaz (D.N.J.) (another ISIL-support guilty plea, this time a 21-year-old)

September 9, 2015

See the attached documents, and from the press release:

WASHINGTON – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

…Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton of the District of New Jersey to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with others to provide material support to ISIL. He remains detained without bail.

…According to documents filed in this case and related cases and statements made in court:

Topaz admitted that prior to his arrest by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) on June 17, 2015, he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL and had saved money for that purpose. Topaz discussed plans to join ISIL with Nader Saadeh, Alaa Saadeh and Munther Omar Saleh, and he admitted that at various times, each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL. Topaz also admitted that they all watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam.

On May 5, 2015, Nader Saadeh departed the United States with plans to travel overseas to join ISIL as part of the conspiracy, according to Topaz’s statements in court today. Topaz further admitted that he and others planned to travel overseas separately, meet up with Nader Saadeh and then travel together to join ISIL. After Nader Saadeh left the United States, Topaz met with Saleh and contacted Alaa Saadeh to discuss those plans.

Topaz admitted to knowing that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization taking over territory overseas, expelling non-Muslims from their homes and executing individuals who did not obey ISIL’s commands.

The count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a statutory maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2015.

Topaz’s alleged co-conspirators are being prosecuted and are currently in federal custody. Nader and Alaa Saadeh have been charged in separate criminal complaints brought in the District of New Jersey with conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, among other charges. Saleh has been indicted on terrorism-related charges brought in the Eastern District of New York. The charges and allegations against them are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topaz Plea Agreement.pdf

Topaz Information.pdf

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nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Musse (D. Minn.) (guilty plea in ISIL support case involving 19-year-old)

September 9, 2015

From DOJ’s press release:

WASHINGTON – Hanad Mustofe Musse, 19, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with at least eight other individuals to travel to Syria in an effort to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Musse was initially charged by criminal complaint on April 20, 2015, and was subsequently indicted on May 19, 2015. Musse pleaded guilty today before Senior U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis of the District of Minnesota.

As the defendant admitted in his guilty plea, between March and June 2014, Musse became aware of individuals in the United States and abroad who had traveled or desired to travel overseas to join ISIL. Musse joined this group of aspiring travelers with the understanding that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization that engaged in terrorism and terrorist activity. The defendant participated in several meetings throughout 2014 in which he and his co-conspirators discussed traveling to Syria to join ISIL, including how they would pay for such travel, what routes they could take from Minnesota to Syria to best elude law enforcement and the feasibility of using fraudulent travel documents to travel to Syria.

Musse also admitted in his plea that by June 2014, he knew that co-conspirator Abdi Nur had successfully traveled to Syria and that co-conspirator Abdullahi Yusuf had attempted to travel to Syria but had been stopped by law enforcement at the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, International Airport. Nevertheless, Musse continued to make preparations to travel to Syria to join ISIL. Between Oct. 20, 2014, and Nov. 6, 2014, Musse made five cash withdrawals from his federal financial aid account totaling $2,400. He deposited those funds in a personal checking account that he opened on Nov. 3, 2014. Musse later used those funds to purchase a bus ticket from Minneapolis to New York City.

As admitted by the defendant in his guilty plea, on Nov. 6, 2014, Musse and co-conspirators Mohamed Farah, Hamza Ahmed and Zacharia Abdurahman purchased bus tickets from Minneapolis to New York City, where they met at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). While at JFK, Musse purchased a round-trip ticket to Athens, Greece, which he planned to use as a transit point from which to travel to Syria. Musse knew that Abdurahman purchased a ticket on the same flight for the same purpose. After being prevented by federal agents from boarding his flight, Musse lied to the agents about the true nature of his travel.

The defendant admitted in his guilty plea that after their failed November 2014 attempt to fly overseas, Musse and co-conspirators Mohamed Farah, Abdurahman and Ahmed met to discuss and coordinate false responses to anticipated law enforcement questions in an effort to conceal their intention to travel to Syria to join ISIL.

Musse admitted in his guilty plea that he continued to meet with his co-conspirators throughout the winter and spring of 2015 to discuss and plan another attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIL. As a result of some of those meetings, Musse willingly agreed to participate in a scheme to obtain false passports, travel from Minnesota to Mexico and fly overseas to join ISIL using those false passports. On April 6, 2015, Musse provided a passport photo of himself to a co-conspirator for the purpose of creating a fake passport. Unbeknownst to the defendant, the individual was a cooperating human source (CHS). When Musse’s family learned of his plan to travel, Musse requested the return of the photograph from the CHS. However, Musse admits that he did not withdraw from the conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL when he sought return of the passport photo. Rather, Musse was attempting to preserve the viability of his and his co-conspirators’ future travel to Syria.

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