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Justice News

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

Friday, June 5, 2015

Austinite Sentenced to Federal Prison for Attempting to Travel to Syria to Join ISIL/ISIS

In Austin this morning, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sentenced 24-year-old Michael Wolfe (aka “Faruq”) to 82 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, announced John Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas; and, Christopher Combs, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division.

In June 2014, Wolfe pleaded guilty to the charge, admitting that from August 2013 to June 17, 2014, he planned to travel to the Middle East to provide his material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS).  Wolfe previously acknowledged that he applied for and acquired a U.S. 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 ISIL, Wolfe travelled to Houston and was apprehended on June 17, 2014, on the jet-way, as he attempted to board a flight 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 ISIL and engage in the armed conflict.  Wolfe has remained in federal custody since his arrest.

The case was investigated by the agencies comprising the Central Texas JTTF, which include the FBI; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; U.S. Army Intelligence; Austin Police Department; Round Rock, Texas, Police Department; Killeen, Texas, Police Department; University of Texas Police Department; Travis County, Texas Sheriff's Office; Texas Department of Public Safety, Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregg N. Sofer and Michael Galdo of the Western District of Texas, and Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Michael Dittoe of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Updated February 4, 2016