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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

Friday, June 27, 2014

Austinite Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Provide Material Support To Terrorists

In Austin this morning, 23-year-old Michael Wolfe (a.k.a. “Faruq”) pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, announced Robert Pitman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Christopher Combs, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division, and John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.  He faces up to 15 years in federal prison for the offense.

Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Mark Lane, Wolfe admitted that from August 2013 to June 17, 2014, he planned to travel to the Middle East to provide his services to a foreign terrorist organization, namely, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS) and to engage in violent jihad in Syria.

During the plea hearing Wolfe acknowledged that he applied for and acquired a United States passport, participated in physical fitness training, practiced military maneuvers and made efforts to conceal his communications about his plans to travel overseas to engage in violent jihad.  Wolfe also purchased airline tickets so that he could travel to Europe to meet an FBI undercover employee, whom the defendant then believed would facilitate travel to Syria through Turkey.  In furtherance of his attempt to provide material support to ISIS, Wolfe travelled to Houston and was apprehended on June 17, 2014, on the jet-way, as he attempted to board flight #8112 to Toronto, Canada.  His ticketed itinerary had him traveling through Iceland and arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 18, 2014.  He then planned to make his way to Syria to join with ISIS and engage in the armed conflict.

Wolfe remains in federal custody pending sentencing before United States District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin.  No sentencing date has been scheduled.

This case resulted from a Central Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Army Intelligence, Austin Police Department, Round Rock Police Department, Killeen Police Department, University of Texas Police Department, Travis County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Gregg N. Sofer and Michael Galdo, together with Department of Justice National Security Division trial attorneys Josh Parecki and Michael Dittoe, are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government. 
Updated December 15, 2014