Ohio man pleads guilty to providing support to
Somali-based terrorist group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, a 27-year-old man from Westerville, Ohio,
pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide money and personnel to al-Shabaab, a designated foreign
terrorist organization based in Somalia. Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, formerly of Eden Prairie,
Minnesota, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign
terrorist organization. Mahamud, who was indicted on June 7, 2011, entered his plea before
United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.
In his plea agreement, Mahamud admitted that from 2008 through February of 2011, he
conspired with others to provide money and people to al-Shabaab, a U.S.-designated foreign
terrorist organization, in its fight against the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia
(“TFG”) and the Ethiopian military, which supports the TFG. The defendant also admitted that
he and his co-conspirators raised money from the Somali-American community in Minnesota
under false pretenses to pay for men in Minnesota to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab.
Specifically, the defendant and his co-conspirators claimed the money raised would be used for a
local mosque or to help orphans in Somalia. In fact, the money collected was used to purchase
airline tickets and to pay other expenses so men could travel from Minnesota to Somalia to join
Further, Mahamud admittedly sent money via wire transfers to a co-conspirator in Somalia,
knowing the money would be used to purchase weapons or otherwise support al-Shabaab.
Court documents indicate that since September of 2007, approximately 20 young men have
left the Minneapolis area for Somalia, where they have trained with al-Shabaab. The charges
against Mahamud stem from an ongoing, three-year investigation into that activity. To date, 18
people have been charged in the District of Minnesota in unsealed indictments or criminal
complaints. Eight of those individuals have been arrested in the U.S. or overseas; of these eight, seven have pleaded guilty to related charges. Of the remaining ten defendants, eight are at large
and believed to be abroad, while two others are believed to have died in Somalia. The charge
levied against Mahamud carries a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison. A
federal judge will determine the actual sentence at a hearing not yet scheduled.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”),
with assistance from the FBI’s JTTF in Columbus, Ohio. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Charles J. Kovats, Jr. and John Docherty and Trial Attorney William M. Narus of the
Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
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