TWO MALIAN MEN PLEAD GUILTY IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT TO CONSPIRING TO PROVIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT TO TERRORISTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday April 17, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that two Malian citizens, HAROUNA TOURÉ and IDRISS ABDELRAHMAN, pled guilty today – after jury selection for their trial had begun – to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. In December 2009, TOURÉ, ABDELRAHMAN, and their associate, Oumar Issa, were charged with agreeing to transport cocaine through West and North Africa with the intent to support the drug trafficking activities of Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (“AQIM”), and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (“FARC”). Each of these organizations has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. TOURÉ, ABDELRAHMAN, and Issa were arrested in Ghana on December 16, 2009, and subsequently transported to the Southern District of New York. TOURÉ and ABDELRAHMAN pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s guilty pleas by Harouna Touré and Idriss Abdelrahman mean that there are two fewer people walking the streets who are willing to do the bidding of terrorists. This is a welcome result, and a result we remain committed to replicating wherever and whenever we can.”
According to the Complaint and Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:
The principal goal of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization founded in 1989, is to attack the United States. Al Qaeda functions on its own and through various terrorist organizations that act as affiliated groups. The group known as AQIM – formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (“GSPC”) – was founded in the late 1990s with the assistance of Usama Bin Laden.
The FARC is a highly structured international terrorist group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Government of Colombia. Organized as a military group, the FARC actively engages in narcotics trafficking as a financing mechanism, and has evolved into the world’s largest supplier of cocaine. For at least the past five years, the FARC has been responsible for violent acts committed against U.S. persons and commercial and property interests in foreign jurisdictions – including in Colombia – in order to dissuade the United States from continuing its efforts to disrupt the FARC’s cocaine manufacturing and trafficking activities.
From September 2009 through December 2009, TOURÉ, ABDELRAHMAN, and Issa, who is also from Mali, agreed to provide the FARC with services, including logistical assistance and securing transportation for a shipment of cocaine across Africa, false identification documents, and other material support and resources, knowing that the FARC was engaged in terrorist activity.
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TOURÉ, 35, and ABDELRAHMAN, 37, each face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jones on July 19, 2012 and July 20, 2012, respectively.
Issa pled guilty in November 2011, and was sentenced by Judge Jones in March 2012 to 57 months in prison.
The charges against TOURÉ, ABDELRAHMAN, and Issa were the result of the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the DEA’s Special Operations Division and Ghana Office. Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA and thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, its National Security Division, and the Department of State for their assistance. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Government of Ghana for its cooperation.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey A. Brown, Christian R. Everdell, and Edward Kim are in charge of the prosecution.