MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A survivor of the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people now faces terror charges after authorities say he traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State group, departing the U.S. just a few weeks after collecting more than $91,000 in settlement money for his injuries.
Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, 20, was charged Wednesday with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
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He was weeks shy of his 11th birthday when the school bus he was riding in plummeted about 30 feet as the bridge collapsed. Roble, one of 145 people who were hurt, received the settlement funds on his 18th birthday.
Roble’s name first surfaced in May during the federal trial of three Minnesota men who were convicted of conspiring to join the Islamic State group. The bridge collapse wasn’t mentioned at trial, but The Associated Press made the connection using public records.
Working phone numbers and current addresses for Roble’s family members were not available and they could not be reached for comment.
Court documents filed Wednesday show Roble received three court settlements when he turned 18 that totaled $91,654. That money included a $65,431 payment from the state’s settlement fund.
According to evidence presented in federal court in May, Roble flew to Istanbul in October 2014 as part of an itinerary that included a trip to China. He was due to return to the U.S. in June 2015, but never did, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Officer Joel Pajak testified.
“We received information that Mr. Roble ended up in Syria with his uncle, Abdi Nur,” Pajak testified.
The FBI affidavit says Roble withdrew more than $47,000 from his accounts over three months in 2014 while he was in Turkey.
“This large sum is consistent with previously mentioned CHS reports that Roble was financially supporting himself and other members of ISIL, including by purchasing vehicles to be used by members of ISIL,” the affidavit said. The “CHS” was a confidential informant working for the government.
Nur is among 10 men charged in the case and is believed to have joined the Islamic State group. Nine others have been convicted on terror charges in Minnesota.
Prosecutors say the men were part of a group of friends in Minnesota’s Somali community who recruited and inspired each other to join the Islamic State group. The FBI has said that roughly a dozen young men have left Minnesota to join militant groups in Syria in recent years.
The affidavit filed Wednesday says that Nur was last known to be living in Syria with the Islamic State group. Authorities say Roble and Nur accessed internet accounts from the same computer IP address within minutes of each other in May 2015, supporting that they were in the same location.
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