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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Federal Grand Jury in Chicago Indicts California Man for Attempting to Provide Material Support to Overseas Terrorists

CHICAGO — A California man who allegedly traveled to Syria to take up arms with terrorists has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago for attempting to provide material support to acts of violence overseas.

AWS MOHAMMED YOUNIS AL-JAYAB, 23, of Sacramento, allegedly flew from Chicago to Turkey on Nov. 9, 2013, and then traveled to Syria.  Between November 2013 and January 2014, Al-Jayab reported on social media that he was in Syria fighting with terrorist organizations.

The indictment charges him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources, knowing that such support and resources would be used in preparation for, and in carrying out, violence against persons outside of the United States.  The charge is punishable by up to 15 years in federal prison. 

The indictment was returned today in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  An arraignment date has not yet been set.

The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Monica M. Miller, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Sacramento Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI.

The investigation was led by the Sacramento Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of FBI special agents and representatives from numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of California, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, provided assistance in the investigation.

Al-Jayab was also indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for allegedly making a false statement involving international terrorism.  He pleaded not guilty to that charge.  His next court appearance in Sacramento will be a status hearing on May 12, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. PDT, before U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of California, Al-Jayab is a Palestinian born in Iraq, who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012.  Between October 2012 and November 2013, while living in Arizona and Wisconsin, Al-Jayab communicated via social media with numerous individuals about his intention to go to Syria to fight for terrorist organizations, the complaint states.  On Nov. 9, 2013, he flew from Chicago to Turkey, and then traveled to Syria, according to the complaint.  

Between November 2013 and January 2014, according to the complaint, Al-Jayab reported on social media that he was in Syria fighting with terrorist organizations.  Al-Jayab returned to the United States on Jan. 23, 2014, and settled in Sacramento.

The indictment in California contends that Al-Jayab gave false statements to agents from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during an interview on Oct. 6, 2014.  In the interview, Al-Jayab indicated that he never supported terrorist groups, and that the purpose of his trip to Turkey was to visit his grandmother.  The California indictment contends that both statements were false.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The government is represented in Chicago by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and Shoba Pillay of the Northern District of Illinois, and Trial Attorney D. Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.


Updated March 17, 2016