Nelash Mohamed Das charged with planning murder of U. S. Soldier; immigrant from Bangladesh said his gun was a ticket to paradise
Nelash Mohamed Das, 24, a citizen of Bangladesh residing in Hyattsville, Maryland, has been charged by federal criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, in connection with a plan to kill a U.S. military member.
The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office. Das had an initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2016, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan. Das was ordered to be detained pending a detention hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, at 3:15p.m. before Magistrate Judge Sullivan in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. The complaint was filed on Oct. 1, 2016.
“Nelash Mohamed Das is alleged to have plotted to kill a U.S. service member on behalf of ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Individuals intent on carrying out violence in the name of foreign terrorist organizations pose one of the most concerning threats that law enforcement faces today and stopping these offenders before they are able to act is our highest priority.”
“Our goal is to catch dangerous suspects before they strike, while respecting constitutional rights,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”
“The danger posed by Mr. Das during this investigation was very real. He was committed to carrying out an attack against a military member,” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI’s Baltimore Division. “Through our proactive investigative stance, we were able to ensure the citizens of Maryland were protected. The covert nature of the defendant’s alleged actions is a stark reminder of the challenges we face in preventing attacks, and underscores the critical need for those with knowledge about terror plots to come forward.”
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Das was admitted to the U.S. in 1995 and is a legal permanent resident.
The affidavit alleges that from Sept. 28, 2015, to early 2016, Das used social media to express his support for ISIL, including support for terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California.
On Oct. 26, 2015, Das tweeted the name of an individual and the city where they lived, stating that the individual “aspires to kill Muslims.” Das knew that the individual hoped to become a member of the U.S. military. ISIL members and supporters have posted identifying information about U.S. military personnel in hopes that those inspired by ISIL would carry out attacks against them. The affidavit alleges that Das was advertising the individual’s identity and whereabouts in order to inspire violence against that individual.
On Jan. 30, 2016, Das tweeted a picture of an AK-47 assault rifle along with the text, “This is more than just a gun. This is a ticket to Jannah.” “Jannah” is a reference to the Islamic concept of paradise.
According to the affidavit, on April 30, 2016, Das attended the Handgun Qualification License class at a firing range in Prince George’s County, Maryland. After the class, Das told another individual that he wanted to buy a Glock 9mm handgun and an AK-47. Over the next five months, Das returned to the firing range to practice firing weapons and submitted his fingerprints to obtain a handgun permit.
During May 2016, Das met a confidential human source (CHS) working for the FBI. Das believed the CHS to be a like-minded supporter of ISIL. On May 24, 2016, Das told the CHS that he knew people overseas in Al Dawla (a common name for ISIL) and communicated with them through online communications.
Das told the CHS that he wanted to kill a particular military member who lived in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and whose identifying information Das had obtained the prior year from a list posted online by ISIL.
On July 23, 2016, Das told the CHS that he wanted to kill a particular military member who lived in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and whose identifying information Das had obtained the prior year from a list posted online by ISIL. Das stated that he could acquire a firearm from an individual he knows and stated his desire to travel overseas for ISIL if he had the opportunity. On July 30, 2016, Das advised the CHS that he could no longer find the ISIL list from the year before and asked the CHS if he had any ISIL contacts who could re-send the list.
According to the affidavit, on Aug. 19, 2016, even though Das had stated that he could acquire a firearm, the CHS told Das that he could acquire weapons for both of them. In subsequent meetings with the CHS, Das continued to state that he was looking for names of targets for them to kill. In a meeting on Sept. 11, 2016, Das confirmed that he was committed “100%” to conducting an attack and, “That’s like my goal in life.” In a meeting the following day, Das stated that he wanted to get paid by ISIL for future killings, but would do it for free as well. Das further confirmed that he specifically wanted to target U.S. military personnel.
On Sept. 28, 2016, Das and the CHS drove from Maryland to a firearms store in Virginia, where Das purchased one box (50 rounds) of 9mm ammunition and one box (50 rounds) of .40 caliber ammunition. At Das’ request, that same day, the CHS provided Das with the identifying information of a target, who the CHS claimed was a member of the U.S. military. The CHS told Das he received the information from an ISIL contact in Iraq. In reality, the CHS provided false information on behalf of the FBI. Based on discussions with the CHS, Das also believed that the ISIL contact in Iraq would facilitate the payment of approximately $80,000 in exchange for Das and the CHS conducting the attack. After purchasing the ammunition, Das and the CHS traveled from the Virginia firearms store to the Maryland address of the target in order to conduct surveillance.
The affidavit alleges that on Sept. 30, 2016, while the CHS was en route to pick up Das so they could conduct the attack, Das sent a text to the CHS that stated, “I’m ready.” When the CHS arrived at the residence, Das loaded ammunition into the magazine of one of the two firearms previously acquired by the CHS, with Das’ knowledge and support. Das inserted the magazine into the firearm and loaded a bullet in the chamber. The firearms were then placed into the trunk of the vehicle. Although Das believed that the firearms could fire ammunition, in reality, they had been rendered inert by the FBI. Das and the CHS then traveled to the address of the target, where Das exited the vehicle and approached the trunk, where the firearms were located. When Das was standing next to the trunk, FBI agents approached and Das attempted to run away. Das was taken into custody by FBI agents a short distance from the vehicle.
Das faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Taxi Driver Indicted for Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 26, of Woodbridge, Va., was indicted by a federal grand jury May 29, 2016, on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aiding and abetting the provision of material support to ISIL, and false statements.
According to the indictment, from on or about Aug. 1, 2015, and continuing until Jan. 15, 2016, in Elhassan unlawfully and knowingly conspired with Joseph Hassan Farrokh to provide material support or resources to ISIL, a designated foreign terrorist organization. In furtherance of the conspiracy, on Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan drove Farrokh to Richmond in order to enable Farrokh to fly to overseas to join ISIL.
According to the indictment, Elhassan also attempted to provide material support or resources to ISIL by aiding and abetting the attempt of Farrokh to join ISIL. Elhassan’s aiding and abetting included introducing Farrokh to an individual that Elhassan believed could facilitate Farrokh’s travel to the Islamic State; driving Farrokh from Farrokh’s home to Richmond in Elhassan’s taxi cab so that Farrokh could embark on his travel to join ISIL; and making false statements to the FBI about Farrokh’s travel in order to hinder the government’s investigation of Farrokh’s travel.
According to the indictment, Elhassan knowingly, unlawfully, and willfully made material false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter involving international terrorism, including: On Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan falsely stated to FBI agents that Farrokh had flown out of Dulles Airport earlier that day on a flight to California to attend a funeral; that Farrokh had said that he would be back in about two weeks; that neither he nor Farrokh supported the ISIL; and neither he nor Farrokh ever tried to find someone to help them get to ISIL.
Elhassan was scheduled to be arraigned on June 3, 2016, and faces a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis M. Fitzpatrick and Gordon D. Kromberg are prosecuting the case. This case is being investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Northern Virginia Taxi Driver Liban Haji Mohamed Placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List
WASHINGTON, D. C. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced Jan. 29, 2016, the addition of Liban Haji Mohamed to the Most Wanted Terrorists list. Liban Haji Mohamed has been charged by complaint with providing material support and resources to a designated terrorist organization. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mohamed.
Liban Haji Mohamed is wanted in connection with providing material support to Harakat Shabaab Al-Mujahidin, also known as al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda. Al Shabaab is a Somali-based insurgent and terrorist group whose senior leadership is believed to have trained and fought in Afghanistan. Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for many bombings in Somalia and Uganda and is known to have recruited westerners. The U.S. Department of State designated al Qaeda as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in 1999, and al-Shabaab as an FTO in 2008. Mohamed was a close associate of convicted terrorist Zachary Chesser, who was sentenced in February 2011, to 25 years in prison for attempted material support to al Shabaab.
Liban Haji Mohamed is a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen. Traveling with his U.S. passport, Mohamed is believed to have left the U.S. on or about July 5, 2012, with the intent to join al-Shabaab in East Africa. On July 16, 2012, Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, issued a blue notice for Mohamed in order to collect additional information about his identity, location, and activities in relation to crime. On August 15, 2014, Interpol issued a red notice to seek Mohamed as a wanted fugitive.
Born January 4, 1986, Liban Haji Mohamed speaks English, Somali, and Arabic. He is a black male, 6’0” tall (182.88 cm), 194 pounds (87 kg), with black hair and brown eyes. Mohamed could be using aliases of Abu Ayrow, Shirwa or Shirwac, Qatiluhum, and Qatil. Before departing the U.S., Mohamed worked as a taxicab driver and lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of the Washington, D.C. area.
Before departing the U.S., Mohamed worked as a taxicab driver and lived in the Northern Virginia suburbs of the Washington, D.C. area.
A federal warrant for Mohamed’s arrest was unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia on January 29, 2015.
With the addition of Liban Haji Mohamed, there are currently 31 individuals on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. Individuals on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list have been charged in the U.S. for their alleged involvement in various terrorist attacks or planned attacks around the world against U.S. interests or persons.
Individuals with information concerning Liban Haji Mohamed are asked to contact the FBI or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. Tips can be submitted anonymously at tips.fbi.gov.