Four young Minnesota men are in federal court Thursday, accused of conspiring to sneak into Syria to join ISIS.
A total of six young men, between the ages of 19 and 21, were part of the plot. U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said they plotted for 10 months, even as co-conspirators were caught and charged.
“To be clear, we have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota and this case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here,” Luger said. “These are focused men who are intent on joining a terrorist organization by any means possible.”
Two of the suspects made it to California, where they’re facing charges as well. One of them posted jihadist images on Facebook, and last year told an informant, “There’s nothing for me in this world.”
Authorities say dozens of young Somali men have traveled from Minnesota to join terrorist groups in Somalia and Syria.
Luger said that in this case, there was no “master recruiter” in Minnesota’s Somali community, but rather this group of family and friends engaged in “peer-to-peer” recruiting. They also helped each other with funding, taking money out of their own accounts or, in one case, trying to sell a car.
They had help from Abdi Nur, another friend who was successful in getting to Syria last May and had become a “de facto foreign fighter recruiter for those in Minnesota,” Luger said.