CHICAGO (CN) - A Chicago man was sentenced to nearly 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to support al-Shabaab, a Somalian terrorist organization.
Shaker Masri, 29, was sentenced to 118 months in prison.
Masri, a former resident of Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, was arrested in August 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for Somalia, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Masri told an acquaintance, who was a covert informer, that he was going to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, prosecutors said.
Al-Shabaab, an Islamist group believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, controls large amounts of territory in southern Somalia and enforces Sharia law there.
U.S. officials believe the group recruits Somali-Americans to fight for them.
Masri and the informer met several times to discuss how to leave the country without attracting attention, and planned to travel to Mexico, then buy tickets for East Africa, the U.S. attorney said in the statement.
Masri told the informer that once they left the United States they would be wanted men.
Masri said they would link up with al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, and expected to be "placed in a faction of al-Shabaab comprised of foreign fighters," prosecutors said.
Masri told the informer that he, Masri, had to destroy his computer because it contained incriminating evidence, and the two men picked up $18,000 from a man who allegedly owed the informer money. Masri was arrested as he left a retail store with a new computer.
He pleaded guilty in July to attempting to provide material support for a terrorist organization. After he serves his time he will be on supervised release for 20 years.
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