Two Indicted in Missouri on Charges of Providing Material Support to a Terrorist Organization
A Third Defendant is Charged with Structuring Violations
ST. LOUIS—St. Louis resident Mohamud Abdi Yusuf has been indicted and arrested on four charges of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization and one charge of conspiracy to structure financial transactions, U.S. Attorney Richard G. Callahan announced today. Minneapolis resident Abdi Mahdi Hussein was also indicted and arrested on a charge of conspiracy to structure financial transactions.
According to the indictment returned on Oct. 21, 2010 and unsealed this morning, from February 2008 through at least July 2009, Yusuf and a third defendant, Duwayne Mohamed Diriye, a resident of Kenya and Somalia, were involved in a conspiracy to provide funds to al Shabaab, which was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization in February 2008.
The indictment alleges that Yusuf sent funds to al Shabaab supporters in Somalia, including Diriye, from licensed money remitting businesses operating in the United States, in part by using fictitious names and telephone numbers to conceal the nature of their activities. Yusuf is also charged with conspiring with Abdi Mahdi Hussein, an employee of a licensed money remitting business, to structure financial transactions to avoid record keeping requirements.
Al Shabaab, which loosely translates to "The Youth," operated as a terrorist organization based in Somalia whose objective was the violent overthrow of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the ouster of African Union support, and the imposition of Shari'a law in Somalia. Until his death in May 2008, Aden Hashi Ayrow was the principal military leader and commander of al Shabaab.
Special agents of the FBI arrested Yusuf on Nov. 1, 2010, in St. Louis, and arrested Hussein on Nov. 2, 2010, in Minneapolis. Both defendants made initial appearances in federal court yesterday. Diriye remains at large in Kenya or Somalia. Diriye is charged in the indictment with one felony count each of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The indictment alleges that members of the conspiracy discussed al Shabaab in coded language to plan the means by which they could provide funds to al Shabaab. Yusuf solicited funds from inside and outside the Eastern District of Missouri, and coordinated the transfer and transmission of the funds to al Shabaab. Diriye facilitated and coordinated the receipt and distribution of funds to al Shabaab from inside Somalia and Kenya by seeking and identifying al Shabaab members, supporters, and affiliates in Somalia and Kenya, to receive the funds, and by providing members of the conspiracy who were collecting the funds with information concerning al Shabaab's operations and activities in Somalia.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan stated, "This type of activity is uncharacteristic of the local Somalian population in the St. Louis area, which is approximately 2,000."
Dennis L. Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division said, "I want to thank the airport police, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force for disrupting the flow of money from the St. Louis area to a terrorist group that could potentially be used to support terrorist activity."
If convicted, Yusuf could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for each count of providing material support to terrorist organizations. Further, Yusuf and Hussein could each be sentenced to a maximum penalty of five years prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for conspiring to structure transactions.
The case was investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, in conjunction with task force agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Drake and Howard Marcus will be handling the case, in conjunction with the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
As is always the case, the charges set forth in any indictment are accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.