VANCOUVER — A Canadian citizen pleaded guilty Friday in US federal court to funding ISIS militants in Syria.
In a press release, the US Department of Justice says former Edmonton resident Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi has admitted providing material support to people involved in ISIS terrorist activities and has accepted a sentence. 20 years in prison.
Between November 2013 and March 2014, Abdullahi wired money to his four cousins as well as San Diego resident Douglas McCain for airfare and living expenses. This included US$3,100 to McCain, who was the first known American to die for ISIS.
The five individuals traveled from San Diego, Minneapolis and Edmonton to Syria, where they were all killed while fighting for the terrorist group.
The Justice Ministry says Abdullahi also wired money to intermediaries in Gaziantep, Turkey, a town 65 kilometers from the Syrian border, which has also been used to support those involved in ISIS .
Abdullahi also admitted to committing an armed robbery at an Edmonton jewelry store to fund these activities, according to US authorities. He still faces robbery charges in Canada.
“The defendant committed violent and criminal acts to obtain money to help fund Douglas McCain’s trip abroad to fight for the Islamic State, where McCain was ultimately killed,” he said. said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner in the press release.
McCain’s brother, Marchello Dsaun McCain, was convicted in 2018 of unlawful possession of firearms and of making false statements to FBI agents about his knowledge of the conspiracy, including Abdullahi’s role.
Abdullahi was arrested by Canadian authorities in September 2017 after being indicted by a federal grand jury in California.
An order to extradite Abdullahi was granted by an Alberta judge in May 2018. Canadian federal prosecutors say Abdullahi used email drafts in a shared email address to communicate with his co-conspirators.
At the time, his lawyer argued that the draft emails were not sufficient evidence for extradition. The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed Abdullahi’s extradition appeal in June 2019. He was extradited to California in October 2019.
Randy Grossman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, thanked the RCMP, the Edmonton Police Department, and federal and provincial prosecutors in Canada for their cooperation.
“Terrorist networks cannot survive without people like Abdullahi,” Grossman said in the press release. “Our top priority is protecting Americans from terrorists, and with today’s guilty plea, we brought justice to someone who directly financed the violence.”