WASHINGTON – An Ohio man has been sentenced to serve ten years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth L. Wainstein, U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Lockhart of the Southern District of Ohio, Assistant Director Joseph Billy, Jr., of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, and Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced today.
Nuradin M. Abdi, 35, a Somali national living in Columbus, Ohio, was named in a four-count indictment returned under seal in the U.S. District Court in Columbus on June 10, 2004. On July 31, 2007, Abdi pleaded guilty in federal court to Count One of the indictment, which charged him with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Count One of the indictment specifically alleged that on April 27, 1999, Abdi applied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service - now known as ICE - for a travel document, wherein he concealed his destination by representing that he intended to visit Germany and Saudi Arabia for the purpose of "Umrah (Holly[sic] - Mecca) and visit my relative," when he actually planned to travel to Ogaden, Ethiopia, for the purpose of obtaining military-style training in preparation for violent jihad. Abdi allegedly sought training in radio usage, guns, guerilla warfare and bombs.
“Today's sentence is just punishment for a defendant who exploited our country's freedoms and manipulated our immigration system on numerous occasions, all in an effort to support and conspire with international terrorists,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Kenneth L. Wainstein.
“I want to commend the men and women who have diligently investigated and prosecuted this case,” U.S. Attorney Lockhart said. “They are successfully carrying out one of our nation’s most important jobs in the fight against terrorism - stopping those in this country who provide support to terrorists.”
“Nuradin Abdi's sentence should send a very clear message to those who, like Abdi, provide support to terrorist organizations and operatives. The FBI will not tolerate the propagation of violence and discord by those who wish to harm the U.S. and its citizens, and we will continue to work with our partners to pursue suspected terrorists and their supporters” said Assistant Director Joseph Billy, Jr., FBI Counterterrorism Division.
“Today's sentencing brings to conclusion one aspect of a critical joint investigation that identified and stopped three terrorist supporters bent on causing panic and significant harm to U.S. citizens,” said ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. “This investigation highlights the aggressive pursuit by ICE and the Department of Justice to identify and prosecute those who seek to terrorize America and its allies.”
According to the statement of facts agreed upon by the government and the defendant, Abdi first entered the United States in 1995 using a false passport. He once again illegally entered the United States from Canada in 1997. Abdi was later granted asylum in this country based on a series of false statements.
In the ensuing years, Abdi befriended co-conspirators Christopher Paul and Iyman Faris in Ohio. Christopher Paul was later arrested and indicted in April 2007 on charges of providing material support, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives). Iyman Faris was later convicted of providing material support and conspiracy to provide material support to Al Qaeda. He is currently serving a 20-year prison term.
Federal agents arrested Abdi on Nov. 28, 2003. Abdi subsequently agreed to be interviewed by FBI agents and admitted conspiring with Faris, Paul and others to provide material support to foreign terrorists. These admissions by Abdi have been corroborated in a variety of ways, including bank records, travel records, invoices, and items seized in search warrants.
This case was investigated by the Southern Ohio Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multi-agency operation that includes agents and officers from 15 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
The investigation was a joint investigation by agents and officers of the JTTF, specifically ICE Special Agents Bob Medellin and Rich Wilkens; and FBI Special Agents Steve Flowers and John Corbin.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana M. Peters and Robyn J. Hahnert from the Southern District of Ohio and Sylvia Kaser, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section.