A man in Virginia was in custody Thursday on immigration charges, and authorities are questioning him for any possible connection to an alleged conspiracy by three New York City men to wage jihad on behalf of the terror group ISIS, authorities said.
The unidentified man was arrested in Norfolk but he has not been charged in connection with the conspiracy, which on Wednesday resulted in the arrests of three men from Brooklyn, New York. Two of those men plotted to travel to Syria and a third planned to help them make the trip, federal prosecutors said.
One of those men offered to kill President Barack Obama if asked by ISIS, and another said he planned to buy a machine gun and shoot FBI agents and police officers in the U.S. if he was prevented from going to Syria, authorities said.
Abdurasul Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, were charged Wednesday with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Juraboev and Saidakhmetov planned to travel to Turkey and then to Syria to fight for ISIS, prosecutors said. Habibov allegedly helped fund Saidakhmetov’s planned trip.
Saidakhmetov was arrested Wednesday morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he tried to board a plane to Istanbul, and Juraboev had a plane ticket to Istanbul and was set to leave in March, prosecutors said.
Juraboev attracted the attention of law enforcement in August when he posted on a pro-ISIS website, the prosecutors said. In the posting, he offered to kill Obama if ISIS asked him to, they said. His plans also included planting a bomb on Coney Island, the FBI said.
Saidakhmetov said he'd shoot police officers and FBI agents in the U.S. if he couldn't get to Syria, prosecutors said.
"We treat that very seriously," Commissioner Bill Bratton of the New York Police Department said of the alleged potential U.S. attacks. "This is real."
Juraboev and Habibov are citizens of Uzbekistan, and Saidakhmetov is a citizen of Kazakhstan. Juraboev and Saidakhmetov were identified as legal permanent residents of the United States. Habibov had overstayed a visa, New York police said.
— Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst