A Rochester man has been indicted on charges of trying to aid the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria known as ISIS or ISIL.
Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, has become one of the first Americans to be charged in the United States' battle against ISIS. A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Yemen, Elfgeeh owned Mojoe's in Rochester and lived above the store, according to WROC-TV. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, a group that has been designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization.
According to The Associated Press, Elfgeeh tried to help three people travelling to Syria to join ISIS in 2013 and 2014. Two of those individuals were FBI informants.
Elfgeeh was arrested in May by Rochester's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Authorities said he bought two handguns, silencers and ammunition from an FBI informant outside a Walmart in Rochester. He reportedly planned to kill members of the U.S. military who were returning from war, as well as Shiite Muslims in the Rochester area.
Elfgeeh's seven felony counts also include charges of attempted murder of U.S. military members, and possessing firearms with silencers.
The investigation linked Elfgeeh's home computer to tweets from Twitter accounts that supported al-Qaida, violent jihad and Sunni insurgent groups in Syria.
One tweet read, "Al Qaeda said it loud and clear: we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people," CNN reported.
Another tweet reportedly said ISIS "will one day rule the world with the will of Allah," while others encouraged supporters to donate one third of their salary to support ISIS.
According to the indictment (PDF), Elfgeeh helped these would be fighters by paying for passports, coordinating travel arrangements and putting them in contact with "the university," which is code for ISIS.
"We want ... to start shooting those who were in the Army who went to Iraq," Elfgeeh said in April, according to court documents. He said he planned to kill as many as 15 people, then post a video explaining why he did it.
A man who worked for Elfgeeh at Mojoe's said he was full of "anger and rage," WROC reported.
Mark Hosken, Elfgeeh's public defender said they will enter a "not guilty" plea when his client appears in court on Thursday morning.
If convicted, Elfgeeh could fact up to life in prison. CNN reported that the firearms possession charges have a maximum 30 year sentence. The attempted murder charge maximum sentence is 20 years, and a single count of providing material support to a terrorist group can be punishable by up to 15 years.
In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, "As this case shows, our agents and prosecutors are using all the investigative tools at our disposal, to break up these plots before individuals can put their plans into action."