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GRAND RAPIDS: Three residents of Lansing, Michigan, were arrested without incident Monday afternoon for conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan charged all three in a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
Members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) arrested MUSE ABDIKADIR MUSE (MUSE MUSE) at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after he checked in for a flight to the first of a series of destinations on his way to Mogadishu, Somalia. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement arrested alleged coconspirators MOHAMUD ABDIKADIR MUSE (MOHAMUD MUSE), and MOHAMED SALAT HAJI (HAJI). MUSE MUSE and MOHAMUD MUSE are brothers and HAJI is a cousin. All three were born in Kenya. HAJI is a naturalized U.S. citizen and the brothers are derivative U.S. citizens, having received U.S. citizenship as minors through the naturalization of their parents.
According to the complaint affidavit, MUSE MUSE purchased airline tickets earlier this month to travel from Grand Rapids to Mogadishu, departing on Monday, January 21, 2019. Among other support, the complaint alleged HAJI and MOHAMUD MUSE aided in the purchase of the ticket and drove MUSE MUSE to the Grand Rapids airport, each knowing the true purpose of the travel was for MUSE MUSE to join and fight for ISIS.
The complaint asserts that all three defendants pledged allegiance to ISIS through videos they recorded themselves. MUSE MUSE and HAJI allegedly discussed with each other their desire to join ISIS, kill non-believers and even to potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down non-believers here in the United States if they could not travel overseas to fight for ISIS. Following the arrests, federal agents executed a search warrant at a residence in Lansing, Michigan, shared by MOHAMUD MUSE and MUSE MUSE.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Andrew B. Birge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, and Tim Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Field Division, announced the arrests.
The JTTF is comprised of agents and officers from area federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Michigan State Police, Michigan State University Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Lansing and Grand Rapids Police Departments, U.S. Marshals Service, Lansing and Grand Rapids Airport Police and the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Air Marshals and Customs and Border Patrol.
The defendants were scheduled to make their initial appearance in court today to hear the charges against them. They will remain in custody pending formal arraignment and a hearing on the government’s request that their detention continue until trial. The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.