MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is in police custody, accused of trying to help nine others leave the country to join ISIS.
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, is charged with providing material support to terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Authorities say he was arrested at around 7 p.m. Thursday in Eagan.
According to the criminal complaint, Warsame was at one point the leader of a group of young, Somali-American from the Twin Cities who tried to flee the country in April to aid the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria.
FBI investigators say Warsame encouraged his friends to join ISIS overseas, provided money for one of their passports, and even tried to leave himself in the spring of 2014, but his expedited passport application was denied. He initially told the state department in his application that the passport was for a family trip to Britain, but later said in an interview with the State Department that the family was traveling to Australia.
Ultimately, he was able to get the passport in August of 2014.
The nine other men involved in the investigation have been charged, though Warsame has not. Three of them have pleaded guilty, five will head to trial next year, and one — Abdi Nur — is believed to have made it to Syria.
Court documents say some of the information gathered in the investigation that led to Warsame’s arrest came from one of the other nine suspects charged — Abdullahi Yusuf. He told investigators the group had a plan to drive across the border to Mexico and fly overseas from there.
Yusuf was being held at a halfway house in St. Paul for several months until authorities found a box cutter under his bed.
The criminal complaint says a confidential informant also helped investigators obtain a recorded phone conversation in which Warsame talked about wanting to join ISIS overseas.
Investigators say Warsame was also in touch with Douglas MacArthur McCain, who federal intelligence authorities say was killed overseas fighting for ISIS in August 2014.
Authorities say Warsame will make his first court appearance Thursday morning.