A New York man accused of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State was charged with one count of attempting to provide aid to the militant group Thursday after his arrest at Kennedy International Airport, authorities said.
Mohamed (Adam) Raishani, 30, was arrested Wednesday as he prepared to board a flight to Lisbon, federal prosecutors said. Raishani could face up to 20 years if convicted.
Raishani "acted on his own desire to wage violent jihad, planning to leave his family and life in New York City for the battlefields of the Middle East," Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.
The criminal complaint alleges Raishani contacted someone in January about traveling abroad to join the Islamic State. The contact was actually a confidential source working for law enforcement. Raishani told the contact he had previously helped another man leave New York to join ISIS and wanted to go himself, the complaint alleges.
The source connected Raishani with an undercover officer posing as an individual who also wanted to travel abroad to join the militant group.
"By April 2017, Raishani was actively planning to travel abroad to join ISIS," the complaint alleges. Earlier this month, Raishani and the undercover agent bought clothes to wear while training for battle, the complaint says.
This week, Raishani told the undercover agent he planned on meeting an ISIS member in Turkey who would help Raishani join the group in Syria, the complaint says. Raishani bought a ticket to Turkey via Lisbon.
"On June 21, 2017, Raishani traveled to JFK Airport, where he was arrested by the FBI after he attempted to board that flight to Lisbon," the complaint says.
Kim and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill credited the Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of FBI agents and city police officers, with the arrest.
“As we have seen many times before, allegedly attempting to join a designated terrorist organization usually has one outcome — arrest," O'Neill said.