It took the feds fifteen months after his return to make an arrest. Feel safer?
A criminal complaint has been unsealed in the Southern District of Texas following the arrest of a Spring man on allegations he conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization. United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson made the announcement along with Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Division.
Asher Abid Khan, 20, was taken into custody this morning without incident. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy in Houston at 2:00 p.m. today.
The criminal complaint alleges Khan and a friend devised a plan to travel to Turkey and on to Syria for the purpose of joining and waging jihad on behalf of ISIL. Khan had allegedly asked a Turkish-based foreign terrorist fighter facilitator that “I wana join ISIS can you help?” He also told someone else that “I wana die as a Shaheed [martyr],” according to the allegations.
Khan’s friend allegedly made it to Syria and ISIL with the assistance of Khan and the foreign terrorist fighter facilitator. Khan had been living in Australia with a relative and made it to Istanbul, Turkey, where he was to meet up with his friend in their quest to join ISIL, according to the complaint. However, Khan’s family sent him false information regarding his mother’s health and he was deceived into returning home to Texas.
If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison. A conviction also carries a possible $250,000 fine.
More via Heavy.com: Asher Abid Khan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
The FBI alleges that Khan put his friend in contact with the Turkish-based ISIS facilitator so that the friend could join the terror group in Syria.
The complaint states that the friend goes by the name Abdullah Ali, and is a Mexican convert to Islam.
He is also from Texas, the FBI says. Ali’s Facebook page states that he is a Houston resident.
The FBI says his Facebook page included photos of S.R.G dressed in camouflage and holding what appeared to be an AK-47-style rifle. He told Khan he had gone through an ISIS boot camp, shot the rifle and “even fought a ‘(l)il bit,’” the FBI said in the complaint.
Khan told him through Facebook, “I’m happy for you and you are always in my prayer. I don’t want you getting in trouble so ima wrap this up real quick. Just a few things! Be careful who you kill, don’t neglect salah, recite qur’an and make tones of dua for guidance. And then trust in Allah. Don’t curse ppl you don’t know stuff about. And just take care, always.”
The two continued to talk in July 2014, and the friend tried to convince Khan to come join him in Syria. “That’s my baby,” he said with a photo of an AK-47. “You can have one too if you’d like.”
Khan told the ISIS recruiter through Facebook in January 2014 that he moved to Australia in 2013 because he was tired of living in the west. He said he was “sad,” because he lives in Australia “comfortably while (his) brothers are in so much hardship,” in the Middle East.
He said in a Facebook message, “All I know is that I want to fight fisabillah (for the sake of Allah). Who knows how long this fitna (a division between brothers that leads to fighting) will last? Will I miss my chance? I don’t want to fight for war booty or for nationalism. I want to just rise the laws of Allah and be a shaheed in his cause. I don’t want to be fighting with the wrong group, and so far all I see is ISIS fighting for Khilafah (the Muslim state).”
Khan’s family intervened to prevent him from joining the terror group, prosecutors said. He was living in Australia with a relative and traveled successfully to Istanbul, Turkey, where he planned to meet up with a friend and join ISIS in Syria.
But Khan’s family sent him false information about his mother’s health, convincing him through that deception to return to his family’s home in Spring, Texas, near Houston.
According to the criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent, his family told Khan that his mother had been hospitalized. Khan complained in a Facebook message that he rushed back home because he was told his mother was in the ICU.
Khan, a 2013 graduate of Klein Oak High School, has been back in the United States since February 2014. He was arrested without incident by federal authorities on Tuesday, more than a year after his return from Turkey.
He also recently spent time living with relatives in Australia, according to the criminal complaint.
The FBI learned about Khan in August 2014 while investigating a friend of his. After getting a warrant to search the friend’s Facebook messages, they found he had been talking with his friend and others about traveling to Syria, joining ISIS and recruiting others to join him.
By that point, Khan had already traveled to Turkey and returned to the U.S.
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