“FBI Arrests Suburban Chicago Man on Charge of Supporting Terrorism Overseas”

April 22, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 20, 2013 released the following:

“An alleged attempt by an Aurora, Illinois man to travel to Syria in order to join a jihadist militant group operating inside Syria led to his arrest Friday evening. The arrest was announced today by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody without incident late yesterday at O’Hare International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force as he attempted to board a flight destined for Istanbul, Turkey. He was charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a felony offense. Tounisi appeared earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin and was ordered held until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 23, 2013.

In making today’s announcement, Mr. Nelson stated that the investigation that culminated in Tounisi’s arrest began in 2012 and that there is no connection between this case and the events that occurred over the last several days in Boston.

The complaint states that Tounisi is a close friend of Adel Daoud, an individual arrested in September 2012 for attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar and that Tounisi and Daoud appeared to share an interest in violent jihad. While Tounisi allegedly discussed attack techniques and targets prior to Daoud’s arrest, Tounisi did not participate in Daoud’s attempted attack.

According to the complaint, from January to April 2013, Tounisi conducted online research related to overseas travel and violent jihad, focusing specifically on Syria and the Jabhat al Nusrah terrorist group. Jabhat al Nusrah is listed by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The complaint alleges that Tounisi searched online for information about travel from Chicago to Syria, obtained a new passport, and, beginning in late March 2013, made online contact with an individual Tounisi believed to be a recruiter for Jabhat al Nusrah. That individual was in fact an FBI employee acting in an online undercover capacity. The complaint further alleges that Tounisi and the undercover employee exchanged a series of e-mails in which Tounisi shared his plan to get to Syria by way of Turkey, as well as his willingness to die for the cause. During the exchanges, Tounisi also sought advice from the undercover employee on travel from Istanbul to the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which lies near the border of Turkey and Syria.

The complaint states that on April 10, Tounisi purchased an airline ticket for a flight from Chicago to Istanbul and on April 18, the undercover employee provided Tounisi with a bus ticket for travel from Istanbul to Gaziantep. Tounisi arrived at O’Hare International Airport’s international terminal Friday evening, and after passing through airport security, he was arrested.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Tounisi faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The JTTF is composed of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Justice Department’s National Security Division assisted in the investigation.

Mr. Nelson expressed his gratitude to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the significant support provided by its officers during the arrest of Tounisi.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Chicago Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Funds to Support al Qaeda in Pakistan

February 7, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 6, 2012 released the following:

“CHICAGO—A Chicago man, who personally provided hundreds of dollars to an alleged terrorist leader with whom he had met in his native Pakistan, pleaded guilty today to attempting to provide additional funds to the same individual after learning he was working with al Qaeda. The defendant, Raja Lahrasib Khan, a Chicago taxi driver and native of Pakistan who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1988, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, resolving charges that have been pending since he was arrested in March 2010.

Khan, 58, of Chicago’s north side, never posed any imminent domestic danger, law enforcement officials said at the time of his arrest. He remains in federal custody while awaiting sentencing, which U.S. District Judge James Zagel scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 30, 2011.

Khan faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. His plea agreement calls for an agreed sentence of between five and eight years in prison, and it requires Khan to cooperate with the government in any matter in which he is called upon to assist through the termination of his sentence and any period of supervised release.

The guilty plea was announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI.

Khan, who was born and resided in the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan before immigrating to the United States in the late 1970s, admitted that he met with Ilyas Kashmiri, a leader of the Kashmir independence movement, in Pakistan in the early to mid-2000s and again in 2008. At the time of the second meeting, Khan knew or had reason to believe that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, in addition to leading attacks against the Indian government in the Kashmir region. During their 2008 meeting, Kashmiri told Khan that Osama bin Laden was alive, healthy, and giving orders, and Khan gave Kashmiri approximately 20,000 Pakistani rupees (approximately $200 to $250), which he intended Kashmiri to use to support attacks against India.

On Nov. 23, 2009, Khan sent approximately 77,917 rupees (approximately $930) from Chicago to an individual in Pakistan, via Western Union, and then directed the individual by phone to give Kashmiri approximately 25,000 rupees (approximately $300). Although Khan intended the funds to be used by Kashmiri to support attacks against India, he was also aware that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda.

In February and March 2010, Khan participated in several meetings with an undercover law enforcement agent who posed as someone interested in sending money to Kashmiri to purchase weapons and ammunition, but only if Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, as well as sending individuals into Pakistan to receive military-style training so they could conduct attacks against U.S. forces and interests. On March 17, 2010, the undercover agent provided Khan with $1,000, which Khan agreed to provide to Kashmiri. Khan then gave the funds to his son, who was traveling from the United States to the United Kingdom (U.K.), intending to later retrieve the money from his son in the U.K. and subsequently provide it to Kashmiri in Pakistan.

On March 23, 2010, Khan’s son arrived at an airport in the U.K. and a search by U.K. law enforcement officials yielded seven of the ten $100 bills that the undercover agent had provided to Khan. After learning of his son’s detention, Khan attempted to end his involvement in the scheme to provide funds to Kashmiri by requesting an urgent meeting with another individual who was also present at Khan’s earlier meetings with the undercover agent. During their meeting, Khan demanded to return the undercover agent’s funds by providing $800 to this other individual.

The investigation was conducted by the Chicago FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, with particular assistance from the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Police and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Veatch and Heather McShain and trial attorney Joseph Kaster, of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal agents charge Ashland man with targeting Pentagon, Capitol with aerial explosives

September 28, 2011

Boston.com on September 28, 2011 released the following:

“By Milton J. Valencia, Globe Staff

Federal authorities today arrested and charged a 26-year-old Ashland man with plotting to damage the Pentagon and US Capitol with a remote-controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically to al-Qaida, in order to carry out attacks on US soldiers stationed overseas, the US attorney’s office said in a statement.

He apppeared for an initial status hearing today in US District Court in Worcester. Prosecutors are seeking that he be detained without bail. A hearing will be held in the next few days.

“The conduct alleged today shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country,” US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said. “Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners, that plan was thwarted.”

She added, “I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’ conduct, as alleged in the complaint, is not reflective of a particular culture, community or religion. In addition to protecting our citizens from the threats and violence alleged today, we also have an obligation to protect members of every community, race, and religion against violence and other unlawful conduct.”

The statement said that the public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees.

Ferdaus also was closely monitored as his alleged plot developed and undercover agents were in frequent contact with him.

Federal prosecutors said that Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate with a physics degree, began planning to commit violent “jihad” against the US in early 2010.

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division said, “Today’s arrest was the culmination of an investigation forged through strong relationships among various Massachusetts law enforcement agencies to detect, deter, and prevent terrorism.””

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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