Man Pleads Guilty To Helping Somali Terrorist Group

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Somali-American man admitted Monday that he helped raise money so others could travel from Minnesota to join the terror group al-Shabab in Somalia, and that he sent money to Somalia so one of those travelers could buy a firearm.

Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, 27, of Westerville, Ohio, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Mahamud, who lived in Eden Prairie before moving to Ohio last year, is the seventh man to plead guilty in Minnesota’s ongoing federal investigation into the recruitment of fighters for the al-Qaida-linked group. A total of 18 Somali-Americans have been charged in connection to the investigation.

Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats, Mahamud admitted that from 2008 through February 2011, Mahamud and others conspired to provide money and people to al-Shabab, knowing the group was a designated foreign terrorist organization. Specifically, Mahamud said that in the summer of 2008, he and others told members of Minnesota’s Somali-American community that they were raising money for a local mosque or for orphans in Somalia. Instead, Mahamud said, the $1,500 went toward airline tickets for men who would eventually go to Somalia.

After these men joined al-Shabab, Mahamud said one of them contacted him and asked for more money. Mahamud also admitted that on two separate occasions in 2009, he wired $50 to that man for the purchase of a firearm and to cover expenses. In 2010, Mahamud asked a woman in the U.S. to send $100 to that same man in Somalia, again for the purchase of a firearm, according to the plea agreement.

Mahamud, who has a wife and daughter in Ohio, has been living at a halfway house in Minnesota pending his trial. Conditions of his release were allowed to continue while he awaits sentencing; the date has not been set. Mahamud faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Guidelines presented in court Monday call for anywhere from 41 months in prison up to the maximum. The final sentence is up to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

Mahamud’s attorney, Rick Mattox, declined to comment after the hearing.

Minnesota has the largest Somali population in the United States with 32,000 people. Since 2007, at least 21 men are believed to have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab. Of the seven who have pleaded guilty, one served four months in prison and four months of home confinement for obstruction of justice and the rest haven’t been sentenced. Eleven other men are charged in the investigation — nine are at large, one is awaiting trial and one is confirmed dead.

In addition, two southern Minnesota women, Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, are waiting to be sentenced. Last fall, they were convicted of, among other counts, conspiring to funnel more than $8,600 to al-Shabab from September 2008 through July 2009.

Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali Mission to the United Nations, said that each time a case is resolved, it gives community members a chance to put it behind them and move on.

“The lasting question on everybody’s mind is, ‘Who did this to these kids? Who was behind this mastermind behind the recruitment?’ ” Jamal said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Brian

    Thankfully, MN is so bend-over-backwards nice to everyone that we now have the greatest concentration of Somali immigrants in the U.S. I’m not saying they’re all terrorists by any means, I know it’s just a small percentage that actually do this stuff. But for crying out loud lets close the candy store. Thank God this case was heard in federal court, and not at the state level. The feds don’t f**ck around when prosecuting these cases…..

  • a neighbor

    One bad apple spoils the bunch. I agree. I know that many Somalis are darn grateful to be here and not there but guys like this set the precedent of making one wonder who else is going to slap our kindness in the face.

    If you don’t like America, please leave so that the hard working, decent Somali folk can have a good life.

    That is all.

  • Ruth

    I agree; it’s treason and execution is the only answer for these people and their ilk.

  • Megan

    I watched a bus of kids, elementary age, get off in EP yesterday at the Edenvale Apt complex. Took a long time – 19 youngsters all told. What struck me was this – there was a single white face in the whole group. One. An incredible number of Somolian kids, maybe 12 if not 13. I watched and listened to the interaction – the boys were taunting a young boy, Asian maybe?, and just screaming at him. Then they started to pick up small rocks and sticks and toss them at him. The kid said nothing and was in tears. Several people in cars started to yell to stop it – they just glared at them and continued. Finally some HS aged boys jumped out and stopped it.
    Time and time again this has been my observations of the Somalian culture in the youth. Brash and confrontational and often times violent. Someway this has to end or things shall get truly ugly in the future. They scare me badly at times.

    • Kevin

      Import a violent culture…..expect violence. WCCO reported that there are 30,000 Somalians in MN. They also stated that they have no idea how many there are….the Census does not list a check off for Somalians. But when you figure that 30% of St Cloud is now Somalian….that means that there are now 21,000 in St Cloud alone. There are heavy Somalian populations in St Cloud, Mpls, St Paul, and in Rochester. I am afraid Megan…..that the futrue is here. The time to stop it was 10 years ago. And dont forget all the Nigerians we now have. They are even more of an issue. Did you know that the Nigerians and the Somalians have been fighting each other in “Fargo, ND” for years?
      Welcome to America…may I take your order please…

  • Ruth

    WHY do so many immigrants from any country come to MN? That’s easy – all the FREEBIES we give them with no questions asked. They certainly aren’t coming here for the weather and they do NOT want to assimilate and become Americans. A friend in the hospital has had numerous scarf-clad nurses that are nearly impossible to understand by him or any of us who have visited. This is ridiculous. Go back where you came from and clean up your own country and leave us alone.

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