An accused Ohio terrorist misled authorities about his identity and tried to have his slain brother’s Facebook martyrdom photo deleted to avoid police scrutiny, according to newly unsealed search warrants.
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud also trained two “associates” in Ohio on how to shoot guns after he allegedly trained with terrorists in Syria and communicated with his brother online about supporting terrorism, the warrants show.
Mohamud, of Columbus, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of supporting terrorism, supporting a terrorist group and making a false statement involving international terrorism. Prosecutors said he lied to an Ohio FBI agent by saying he had been in Istanbul when he was really in Syria.
Mohamud, 23, is accused of receiving terrorism training on weapons, combat and tactics in Syria, then returning to the U.S. with plans to attack a military base or a prison.
A U.S. citizen originally from Somalia, Mohamud wanted to “kill three or four American soldiers execution style,” according to an indictment earlier this month.
A message seeking comment was left Monday with Mohamud’s attorney, who has said he’s sifting through a thousand pages of government documents related to the case. Sam Shamansky has called the indictment a “cherry-picked” document as significant for what it didn’t say as what it did. He’s described Mohamud as “a normal 23-year-old kid.”
Mohamud’s brother, Abdifatah Aden, also from Ohio, was killed in battle in Syria in June 2014, according to the government. He had fought with Jabhat al-Nusrah, a State Department-designated terrorist group, according to his brother’s indictment.
Events leading to Mohamud’s arrest began around September 2013 when he communicated online with his brother about plans to travel to Syria to fight, the indictment said. They later talked about ways Mohamud could support him financially, according to the government.
Shortly before leaving for Turkey on his way to Syria in mid-April 2014, Mohamud texted his brother a picture of a computer tablet he had bought, according to a Jan. 30 document filed as part of a search warrant request. The government said the brother planned to use the tablet to raise money for his terrorist fighting.
During a Feb. 20 interview with the FBI, Mohamud identified himself as Aden, then admitted his true identity when challenged, according to the document.
On Feb. 26, Mohamud told his brother he’d been questioned by the FBI. He said he had nothing to hide, “but I’m very careful now,” the document said.