MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two of the Twin Cities men accused of trying to join ISIS are now charged with student loan fraud.
Investigators say both Hamza Ahmed, 19, and Hanad Musse, 19, used more than $1,000 from federal student loan accounts for plane tickets to Turkey and Greece. Prosecutors say they were really going to Syria to join ISIS.
On Tuesday, prosecutors combined two separate cases, meaning that seven young Minnesota friends will eventually be tried together for allegedly trying to join the terror group.
Prosecutors combined the case of Ahmed, who was arrested and charged in February, with that of six young men who were arrested in April. Prosecutors say Ahmed’s arrest should have served as a warning to the others.
The initials of some of those who were arrested in April appear in the Ahmed complaint.
Also on Tuesday, Abdurahman Daud, one of the two members of the group who the government says went to California to pick up fake passports, made his first court appearance in Minnesota.
Supporters of the young men argue that the fake passports were the idea of a confidential informant, and that all of the men are victims of government entrapment.
The informant was a close friend of all of the accused. Prosecutors say the informant was once part of the plot and at one point tried to join ISIS, too.
Since he began cooperating, the informant has been paid $12,000 by the FBI, a fact that has angered supporters of the young men.
Prosecutors have refused to say what, if any, charges the informant might face.
Five defendants are expected in court on Wednesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office won’t say where the seventh defendant, who was arrested in California, is right now.