A US man was arrested for attempting to fly to Syria to join the Islamic State jihadist group, while an accomplice was arrested for supporting his plan, the Department of Justice said Saturday.
Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, and Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, both of Woodbridge, in the state of Virginia, were charged “for criminal activity relating to Farrokh’s attempt to travel to Syria” to join IS, the DoJ said.
FBI agents arrested Farrokh Friday at a local airport as he sought to board a flight to Chicago, “where he intended to board a flight to Amman, Jordan, with an ultimate destination of Syria,” the statement read.
Elhassan was arrested Friday in Woodbridge after he returned from driving Farrokh to catch the flight.
Farrokh, a US citizen originally from Pennsylvania, was charged “with attempting to provide material support and resources” to the IS, “a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
Elhassan, a legal permanent US resident originally from Sudan, was charged “with aiding and abetting” Farrokh’s plans.
Farrokh, who had been trying to leave the United States and join IS in Syria since at least November 20, met several times “with confidential human sources in attempts to work out the details” of flying to Syria, the statement read.
Elhassan introduced Farrokh “to a person who Elhassan believed maintained connections to individuals engaged in jihad overseas.”
On Friday Elhassan picked up Farrokh and drove him to approximately a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the airport. Farrokh then took a taxi, checked in for his flight, “cleared security and was arrested,” the statement read.
Elhassan drove home to Woodbridge, where he was intercepted and interviewed by FBI agents, but lied repeatedly “in response to the agents’ questions.”
The initial court appearance for the two men is scheduled for January 19. If convicted, each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.