Federal authorities in Texas arrested two men Tuesday who they allege had been supporting terrorists in the United States, prosecutors said.
Rahatul Ashikim Khan and Michael Todd Wolfe, both 23, were charged in a federal criminal complaint Wednesday with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists willing to wage violent holy war overseas, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.
Khan had allegedly conspired with others to identify and recruit people to travel abroad to aid terrorist activities, including carrying out violent jihad, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by NBC News.
Khan, identified in the complaint as a University of Texas student living in Round Rock, called himself a "jihadi" and worked with others via an online chat room to identify potential terrorists between March 2011 and January 2012, the complaint said.
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The complaint said at least one of the men he attempted to recruit to "maim and murder people outside the United States" had been a confidential informant.
Khan, a U.S. citizen native to 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," or holy war, according to the complaint.
Wolfe allegedly planned to travel to the Middle East to assist radical groups involved in armed conflict in Syria, according to a separate complaint obtained by NBC News.
In the second complain, Wolfe, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, had intended to travel with his family to Syria through Turkey to wage violent jihad. He told an undercover investigator that he had assisted people willing to travel for holy war in Somalia and Syria.
The complaint stated that from August 2013 to June 2014, Wolfe has been securing birth certificates and passports for himself, his wife and two children to travel under the guise of going to a musical concert in Denmark.
The two men face up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine upon conviction, the statement said. They are due to appear at a detention hearing in Austin on Friday.
— Daniel Arkin
First published June 18 2014, 1:01 PM