Indian American pleads guilty for providing material support to top al-Qaeda terrorist

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Yahya Farooq Mohammad also pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of a federal judge

Yahya Farooq Mohammad (Courtesy of twitter)

A 39-year-old Indian American man has pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

Yahya Farooq Mohammad, an Indian citizen, admitted to conspiring with his brother Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim, and Sultane Room Salim to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars, equipment, and other supports to a ‘key leader of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula Anwar Al-Awlaki, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

“This defendant conspired to attack our service members abroad as well as a judge in Toledo,” the justice department quoted Acting US Attorney Sierleja. “He threatened the hallmarks of our democracy. He is a dangerous criminal who deserves a long prison sentence.”

According to the statement, Mohammad, who came to the US as an engineering student at Ohio State University in 2002 and married a US citizen in 2008, along with his two associates traveled to Yemen on July 22, 2009, with an aim to meet Awlaki and deliver $22,000 that they had raised. They ensured that Awlaki received the money through a courier as the failed to meet him in person.

All the four defendants were indicted by a grand jury in September 2015 and the case against the remaining three defendants, who pleaded not guilty, is pending.

In or about April 2016, Mohammad told his inmate in the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo, Ohio that he wanted to kidnap and murder US District Judge Jack Zouhary, whom the terrorism case was assigned to. The inmate provided Mohammad with the contact information of an undercover FBI employee (UCE) and stated that the UCE would need a $1,000 in cash.

Mohammad later called the UCE from the Correction Center and agreed to provide the $1,000 down payment. Mohammad arranged to have a family member provide the cash to UCE and provided it on May 5, 2016.

“Conspiring to have a judge killed is not the way to avoid being prosecuted – now Mohammad will be held accountable for additional serious federal charges,” Department of Justice quoted Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “The FBI will continue to work with our partners to ensure the safety of those that uphold the rule of law.”

Mohammad is expected to be sentenced to nearly 28 years in federal prison and will be deported from the US upon completion of his sentence.