Rochester, NY man indicted for attempt to recruit ISIS members, kill U.S. soldiers
by Carol Thompson
Yesterday, Federal prosecutors charged a Rochester, New York man with trying to recruit people to join the ISIS terror group overseas and to shoot people in the United States, including Shia Muslims and American military personnel returning from the Middle East.
Mufid A. Elfgeeh, 30, is also charged with the attempted murder of current and former members of the United States military, including some who had returned from Iraq, and possession of firearms equipped with silencers in a seven-count indictment, the Justice Department said.
Elfgeeh is charged with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aka the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. In addition, Elfgeeh is also charged with one count of attempted murder of current and former members of the United States military, one count of possessing firearms equipped with silencers in furtherance of a crime of violence, and two counts of receipt and possession of unregistered firearm silencers.
According to the application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent, Elfgeeh, who resided on North Clinton Ave. in Rochester, is a naturalized citizen of the United States. Elfgeeh operated a store Halal Mojo and Food Mart, also known as Mojoe’s.
The application for warrant lists over a dozen aliases used by Elfgeeh.
“We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to ISIL and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” said Attorney General Holder in a press release issued Tuesday. “As this case shows, our agents and prosecutors are using all the investigative tools at our disposal to break up these plots before individuals can put their plans into action. We are focused on breaking up these activities on the front end, before supporters of ISIL can make good on plans to travel to the region or recruit sympathizers to this cause.”
The material support charges each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the firearms possession charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison, and the firearm silencer charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
According to court records, Elfgeeh attempted to provide material support to ISIS in the form of personnel, namely three individuals, two of whom were cooperating with the FBI. Elfgeeh attempted to assist all three individuals in traveling to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. Elfgeeh also plotted to shoot and kill members of the United States military who had returned from Iraq. As part of the plan to kill soldiers, Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from a confidential source. The handguns were made inoperable by the FBI before the confidential source gave them to Elfgeeh.
According to court documents, in 2013 and into early 2014, Elfgeeh encouraged the two confidential sources (CS-1 and CS-2) to travel overseas to engage in violent jihad. After CS-1 and CS-2 agreed to travel to Syria to join ISIS, Elfgeeh took several steps to prepare them for the trip. Elfgeeh also sent $600 to an individual in Yemen for the purpose of assisting that individual in traveling from Yemen to Syria for the purpose of joining and fighting on behalf of ISIS.
Court documents also indicate that Elfgeeh first discussed the idea of shooting United States military members in December 2013 when he told CS-2 that he was thinking about getting a gun and ammunition, putting on a bulletproof vest, and “just go[ing] around and start shooting.” In February 2014, Elfgeeh told CS-2 that he needed a handgun and silencer. Elfgeeh later gave CS-2 $1,050 in cash to purchase two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition. On May 31, 2014, CS-2 delivered the two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition to Elfgeeh. After Elfgeeh took possession of the items, he was arrested by members of the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force. Elfgeeh is currently being held in custody, according to the Justice Department.
The indictment is the result of an investigation on the part of the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brett A. Harvey and Frank H. Sherman, with the assistance of Trial Attorney Steven P. Ward of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.