A Brooklyn man accused this year of trying to join the Islamic State pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist organization.
Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 25, who appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, will face a maximum possible term of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced. The date for the sentencing has not been set.
Mr. Juraboev is the first of a group of five co-defendants to plead guilty. In February, federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York said that Mr. Juraboev, an Uzbek citizen who worked in a Brooklyn gyro shop, had planned to fly to Istanbul, then travel to Syria, to fight for the Islamic State. Mr. Juraboev had a ticket to fly out of Kennedy International Airport to Istanbul departing in March, but was arrested before he could use it.
A co-defendant, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19 at the time of his arrest and a citizen of Kazakhstan, was arrested in February on a jetway at Kennedy as he boarded a flight to Istanbul. The authorities said he had planned to slip into Syria from there and join the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Mr. Juraboev and Mr. Saidakhmetov had talked of violence on behalf of the Islamic State, like planting a bomb in Coney Island and attacking President Obama, the authorities said. The authorities presented no evidence that the men had taken steps beyond just talk on those fronts. Mr. Saidakhmetov and three other remaining co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said three other men, Abror Habibov, Dilkhayot Kasimov and Akmal Zakirov, helped raise money to send fighters, including Mr. Saidakhmetov, to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
The criminal complaint against the men suggests investigators began monitoring Mr. Juraboev after he posted an online message asking how to martyr himself while staying in the United States. Federal agents interviewed him soon afterward, and he told them that he supported the Islamic State and that his friend, Mr. Saidakhmetov, shared similar views, according to the complaint. A paid informer soon began interacting with the two men and talking to them about traveling to Syria.
A lawyer for Mr. Juraboev did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“This case is another example of the reach that ISIL has within the United States through social media, and the fact that some are willing to follow that call,” William J. Bratton, the New York City police commissioner, said in a statement.
Correction: August 15, 2015
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article and an accompanying online summary misspelled the given name of a Brooklyn man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State terrorist organization. He is Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, not Adburasul.
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(via NY Times)