The younger brother of the first American thought to have died while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIL) in 2014 is battling federal charges in California that accuse him of lying to agents about international terrorism.
Federal prosecutors say Marchello Dsaun McCain made false statements to FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents about what he knew of Douglas McCain's travel to Syria. He was first arrested in January 2015 on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, citing a 2005 conviction in Hennepin County of two assault charges. An indictment that added charges of lying to the agents followed in August.
Marchello McCain's attorney filed a motion earlier this month to dismiss the latter charge, saying that Marchello does not believe his brother "went to Syria to try to establish a caliphate."
Marchello told agents his brother said he and two friends from Minneapolis who were also in Syria were fighting against President Bashar Assad's army.
Court filings also identified Minnesota relatives of a Somali-American family with ties to California and Canada. Brothers Hamsa Kariye and Hirsi Kariye and cousin Hanad Mohallim traveled to Syria between 2013 and 2014 and joined ISIL, according to prosecutors. Marchello told agents Hirsi Kariye called to tell him his brother died. saying that he had "moved up further from the front line of fighting when he was killed."