Colorado teen planned Middle East trip to help ISIS terrorists, prosecutors say

A Denver-area teenager was charged Monday with making an attempt to assist terrorists after he allegedly deliberate to journey to the Center East to be able to grow to be a soldier for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The defendant, Humzah Mashkoor, 18, of Westminster, Colorado, was charged in a prison grievance filed in U.S. District Courtroom in Colorado with knowingly offering or making an attempt or conspiring to supply materials assist to a international terrorist group.

An FBI agent’s narrative included within the prison grievance alleges Mashkoor, born in the USA however raised partially in his household’s native Afghanistan, desperately wished to return to struggle for the Islamic State group, higher often known as ISIS.

FBI brokers arrested him Monday at Denver Worldwide Airport as he tried to fly to the United Arab Emirates as a part of the alleged plan to finish up again in Afghanistan and meet with ISIS “brothers,” in keeping with the grievance.

The bureau grew to become conscious of Mashkoor in 2021 when a social media firm alerted it to a publish by the defendant that expressed assist for the terrorist group, the court docket submitting states.

The federally designated Overseas Terrorist Group based mostly in Iraq and Syria is a jihadist group — militants who pine for a holy battle that would depart their faculty of Islam victorious — that has undertaken or impressed terrorist assaults leading to 1000’s of casualties around the globe, in keeping with the workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence.

In July 2022, police within the metropolis of Thornton, about 10 miles north of Denver, alleged Mashkoor assaulted a relative, who instructed officers {the teenager} stated he “wished to kill individuals and minimize their heads off,” in keeping with the court docket doc.

One other relative allegedly instructed police Mashkoor “struggled from psychological sickness and had high-functioning autism.”

In September 2022, he began speaking on-line with an FBI agent posing as an ISIS supporter, the grievance stated.

From then by means of Monday of this yr, that agent and others posing as ISIS supporters communicated with the teenager, documenting his alleged intentions, the submitting states.

At one level, Mashkoor communicated with two actual ISIS supporters with alleged real-world terrorist ties, together with one convicted for terror-related exercise in another country, the grievance alleged.

He contemplated staying in the USA to work for ISIS to assist perform a home assault, in keeping with the grievance. The concept, prompt by a web-based ISIS contact, “was one thing I thought of as a final effort,” Mashkoor is quoted within the grievance as saying.

{The teenager} additionally thought of the chance he can be instantly be deployed as a suicide bomber upon reaching ISIS militants within the Center East, the doc states.

He contemplated whether or not to go to Syria as a substitute of Afghanistan, however fretted that the had no contacts there, prosecutors stated. He additionally fretted about discovering a bride, which appeared integral to his alleged plan, they stated.

The defendant thought of sending cash to ISIS by changing it to cryptocurrency, however he had issue figuring out how to take action with out being traced, in keeping with the grievance. After turning 18, he requested for a relative’s assist in eradicating their identify from his checking account so he may transfer ahead with the cryptocurrency plan with out their information, it said.

When one of many covert brokers requested if the relative knew what he was making an attempt to do, Mashkoor stated it was seemingly. “She cried just a little after I modified the stuff after which she stated, ‘You aren’t allowed to ship cash to any unhealthy individuals,'” the grievance quotes the defendant as saying.

Mashkoor stated he suffered from despair, and he could not wait to depart the USA, the brokers in contact with him stated, in keeping with the court docket submitting.

“I am unable to stand one other day of humiliation residing in dar ul kuf,” the defendant is quoted as saying. The time period “dar ul kuf” refers back to the portion of the world that does not observe Islam.

The journey to United Arab Emirates was postponed by greater than per week as a result of the Mashkoor contracted Covid, the submitting states.

On Monday, simply after 9:30 a.m., FBI brokers arrested Mashkoor at Denver Worldwide Airport. Later, they searched his house in Westminster, about 20 miles north of Denver, and located journal entries, in keeping with the grievance.

In prosecutors’ phrases, {the teenager} wrote that “he has felt remoted since he was younger, however then found that there have been ‘others like’ him.”

Mashkoor can be quoted as stating his objectives in a journal entry: “Victory over my enemies, or martyrdom.”

Mashkoor made an look Friday in federal court docket. It wasn’t instantly clear if he had a lawyer, and the federal public defender in Colorado didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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