Two Twin Cities men charged with conspiracy to fight alongside terrorists now face financial fraud charges for allegedly using their college loans to purchase airline tickets to fly to the Middle East.
In a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, Hamza Ahmed and Hanad Mustafe Musse were charged with using more than $1,000 of financial aid provided to them.
Ahmed, 20, of Savage, and Musse, 19, of Minneapolis, are among seven young Somali-Americans from Minnesota who face charges of planning to leave the United States and fight alongside Islamic extremist groups. Six of them were charged in April.
During the past two years, more than 20 Somali-Americans from Minnesota have left to fight alongside terrorists with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, according to the FBI.
The new indictment says that Ahmed and Musse bought airline tickets on Nov. 8, 2014, from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Europe, using more than $1,000 in federal college financial aid. Ahmed used his aid money to purchase a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, authorities say. Musse used similar funds to buy a ticket to travel to Greece. From those two destinations, authorities say the pair then planned on heading to Syria. Ahmed had actually boarded his flight when he was ordered off the plane by officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In a related matter, Abdirahman Daud, 21, another alleged conspirator, made his first appearance in federal court in Minneapolis on Tuesday morning before U.S. Chief District Judge Michael Davis. Daud was arrested by the FBI in San Diego in late April, along with alleged conspirator Mohamed Farah, after they drove from Minneapolis to California. They were accompanied on the trip by a confidential informant who was working for the FBI.
Daud and Farah allegedly planned to acquire false documents in San Diego in order to cross into Mexico. From there, they planned on flying to the Middle East with the intent of entering Syria to fight, authorities say.
Daud, who is charged with providing material support to terrorists, is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing Friday afternoon in front of Davis. Farah is charged with conspiracy and is expected to be returned to the Twin Cities later this week. Farah’s brother, Adnan, was arrested last month in connection with the case and is charged with providing support to terrorists. He is being held in the Sherburne County jail.
Ayan Farah, their mother, attended Daud’s hearing along with about three dozen men, women and children from the Somali community in the Twin Cities. She said she spoke to Adnan recently and said he appeared to be doing well. “It’s very difficult,” she said.