CHICAGO (CN) – A taxi driver was sentenced Friday to 7 1/2 years in federal prison for donating $500 to an al Qaeda agent.
Pakistan-born Raja Lahrasib Khan, 58, who became a U.S. citizen in 1988, tried to donate another $1,000 to the terror group through its agent Ilyas Kashmiri, prosecutors said.
Raja Khan, age 58, was born in Pakistan and became a U.S. citizen in 1988.
Khan showed “toxic altruism” U.S. District Judge James Zagel said in imposing the 90-month sentence, followed by lifetime supervised release. Zagel called it a “profoundly aggravating factor” that Khan’s crime occurred after he voluntarily chose to become a U.S. citizen.
Khan admitted he met at least twice in Pakistan in the mid- to late-2000s with Kashmiri, a leader of the independence movement in Kashmir, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The statement continued: “At the time of the second meeting, Khan knew or had reason to believe that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, in addition to leading attacks against the Indian government in the Kashmir region. During their 2008 meeting, Kashmiri told Khan that Osama bin Laden was alive, healthy, and giving orders, and Khan gave Kashmiri approximately 20,000 Pakistani rupees (approximately $200 to $250), which he intended Kashmiri to use to support attacks against India.
On Nov. 23, 2009, Khan sent approximately 77,917 rupees (approximately $930) from Chicago to an individual in Pakistan, via Western Union, and then directed the individual by phone to give Kashmiri approximately 25,000 rupees (approximately $300). Although Khan intended the funds to be used by Kashmiri to support attacks against India, he was also aware that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda.
In February and March 2010, Khan participated in several meetings with an undercover law enforcement agent who posed as someone interested in sending money to Kashmiri to purchase weapons and ammunition, but only if Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, as well as sending individuals into Pakistan to receive military-style training so they could conduct attacks against U.S. forces and interests. On March 17, 2010, the undercover agent provided Khan with $1,000, which Khan agreed to provide to Kashmiri. Khan then gave the funds to his son, who was traveling from the United States to the United Kingdom, intending to later retrieve the money from his son in the U.K. and subsequently provide it to Kashmiri in Pakistan.”
Kashmiri, an organizer of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, was killed in June 2011 in a U.S. drone attack on a Taliban stronghold in Pakistan.