Federal prosecutors Tuesday charged a Rochester, New York man with trying to recruit people to join the ISIS terror group overseas and to shoot people in the United States, including Shia Muslims and American military personnel returning from the Middle East.
However, the man was under close investigation for the past several months, with undercover informants talking to him regularly. It appears he would not have been able to carry out his plans.
Court documents say Mufid A. Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old naturalized citizen from Yemen, was arrested in May after he tried to buy two handguns with silencers from someone who turned out to be an undercover informant working with the FBI. The firearms charges were made public in June. The recruitment charges were contained in a grand jury indictment handed up on Tuesday.
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Prosecutors say he tried to persuade that undercover operative — plus another undercover source cooperating with the FBI and a third person in Yemen — to go to Syria "and fight on behalf of ISIS."
Court documents suggest that the FBI began investigating Elfgeeh a year ago, when he started posting what prosecutors say was a series of tweets expressing support for ISIS, al Qaeda, and other overseas terror groups. In several messages, he urged people to donate money to the groups. In one message, he said everyone should donate a third of their salary to jihadists.
During discussions with the undercover sources, prosecutors say, Elfgeeh said he wanted the guns to carry out shootings and suggested he might also targets U.S. military personnel returning from the Middle East and Shia Muslims in the Rochester area.
- Pete Williams