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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
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New Yorker Who Tried to Help ISIL Pleads Guilty

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CN) - A man who used social media to support violent jihad, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say Mufid Elfgeeh, 31, of Rochester, actively recruited from December 2013 through May 31, 2014, trying to send two individuals to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIL, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Both of the would-be ISIL fighters whom Elfgeeh had been grooming were cooperating with the FBI at the time.

Elfgeeh admittedly sent one of these men anti-American ISIL propaganda videos and arranged for him to communicate on Facebook about the state of affairs in Syria with an English-speaking ISIL contact.

Elfgeeh shelled out about $240 for this man to obtain an expedited passport, a helping him order a copy of his birth certificate and passport photographs.

Giving his supposed recruits guidance about what to do in Syria, Elfgeeh advised them on how to travel without attracting attention and what to expect from the Islamic State's vetting process.

In addition to buying the men a laptop computer and a high-definition action camera to take to Syria, Elfgeeh arranged in May 2014 for an overseas contact to coordinate the logistics of the trip and let his recruits into territory ISIL controls in Syria.

There was also someone in Aden, Yemen, whom Elfgeeh sent $600 so this individual could also travel to Syria and join up with ISIL.

"In March 2014, Elfgeeh communicated with a Syrian national who purported to be the military commander of a battalion of fighters located in Homs, Syria," according to a statement from the Justice Department. "At the time, the battalion was blockaded in Homs and needed military support, including ammunition, mortar shells and explosives that could penetrate armored vehicles, to break out. Elfgeeh facilitated communication and coordination between the battalion commander and ISIL leadership for the purpose of the commander and his battalion pledging their allegiance to and joining ISIL."

Elfgeeh faces up to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release when U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford sentences him on March 17.

The government has had Elfgeeh in custody since his arrest on May 31, 2014.

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