AUSTIN - From KEYE-TV
Federal authorities in Central Texas have arrested two men who they say had been supporting terrorists in the United States wanting to engage in a violent holy war overseas.
Rahatul Ashikim Khan, 23, and Michael Todd Wolfe, 23, appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Austin on Wednesday morning and were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Authorities allege Khan, a University of Texas student living in Round Rock, referred to himself as a "jihadi" and had been working with others through an internet chatroom between March 2011 and January 2012 to spot and recruit potential terrorists in the United States, according to an indictment filed in the U.S. Western district of Texas. One of the men he tried to enlist to maim and murder people outside the United States had been a confidential informant, the criminal complaint states.
Khan, a U.S. citizen born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, "discussed guns, training, the war against Islam, his preparation for the Third World War, shooting and getting the youth interested in the knowledge of jihad (inner struggle/holy war) -- something that Khan stated had caused conflict with his parents because he had snitched on some kids," the indictment states.
In another indictment, federal investigators say Wolfe, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, had been planning to travel with his family to Syria through Turkey to engage in violent jihad. Wolfe told an undercover investigator that he had helped individuals wanting to travel for jihad in Somalia and Syria, and from August 2013 until this month had been securing birth certificates and passports himself, his wife and two children to travel under the false pretext of going to a musical concert in Europe, the complaint states.
Wolfe was arrested Tuesday at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, where he had been attempting to board a plane to Toronto, Canada, according to the indictment.
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News release from Department of Justice
Authorities with the Central Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested two Austin area residents for alleged offenses involving providing material support to terrorists 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.
Rahatul Ashikim Khan (a.k.a. "Rahat Khan," "AuthenticTauheed19," and "AT19"), age 23, was arrested yesterday afternoon at his home in Round Rock, TX. Khan is charged in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in Austin today with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists in violation of Title 18 USC Section 2339A. According to the complaint, from early 2011 to January 2012, he conspired with others to recruit persons to travel overseas to support terrorist activities including committing violent jihad.
Michael Todd Wolfe (a.k.a. "Faruq"), age 23, of Austin, was arrested yesterday at the George H.W. Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport, before boarding a flight to Europe. Wolfe is charged in a separate federal criminal complaint filed in Austin this morning with attempting to provide material support to terrorists in violation of Title 18 USC Section 2339A. According to the complaint, Wolfe planned to travel to the Middle East to provide his services to radical groups engaged in armed conflict in Syria.
"This case is the culmination of a long-term investigation by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Central Texas. It's a textbook example of how well law enforcement agencies in this area work together," stated United States Attorney Robert Pitman. "Protecting the citizens of this community from the threat of harm both from within the United States and abroad is our highest priority, and we will continue to work with our partners to detect, investigate and prosecute those who seek to advance their ideology through acts of terrorism."
Khan and Wolfe face up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine upon conviction. Both remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Friday at 2:30pm before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane in Austin.
Both criminal complaints 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 DOJ Counterterrorism section trial attorneys Josh Parecki and Michael Dittoe, are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.