Wedenesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh are accused of supplying funds to a terrorist group. Drawing courtesy of Krentz Johnson.
Including an Imam from a local Somali mosque.
This is the culmination of the story we’ve followed since 2010.
When I search RRW for ‘San Diego Somali terrorists’ I get pages of posts, so here is an idea, maybe now that ABC News has re-discovered investigative journalism (see Iraqi refugees yesterday), this might just be a new and fruitful avenue of investigation for them!
Below is most of the FBI’s press release from this past Monday (highlights are mine):
SAN DIEGO—Basaaly Saeed Moalin, a cabdriver who was convicted by a federal jury of providing material support to the terrorist group al Shabaab, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller to 18 years in prison.
Also sentenced at the same hearing were Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, the imam at a popular mosque frequented by the city’s immigrant Somali community, to 13 years in prison; and Issa Doreh, who worked at a money transmitting business that was the conduit for moving the illicit funds, to 10 years in prison.
In sentencing Moalin, Judge Miller acknowledged the defendant’s considerable support from the Somali community, his childhood scars from violence in war-torn Somalia, and his philanthropy as a naturalized American. However, he noted Moalin’s virtuous behavior “is substantially offset” by his collaboration with al Shabaab and one of its most prominent leaders—Aden Hashi Ayrow.
Judge Miller said he imposed part of the sentence consecutively—making it three years longer—because Moalin went beyond financial assistance and provided a house to Ayrow. Judge Miller described that action as “an offense of a different magnitude,” noting that Moalin personally offered the home in Mogadishu to advance the agenda of al Shabaab and to help hide weapons. “This count went beyond financial support and entered into another realm,” Judge Miller said.
At trial, the United States played for the jury a recorded telephone conversation in which Moalin gave the terrorists in Somalia permission to use his house, telling Ayrow that “after you bury your stuff deep in the ground, you would, then, plant trees on top.” Prosecutors argued at trial that Moalin was offering a place to hide weapons.
“These men willfully sent money to a terrorist organization, knowing al Shabaab’s extremely violent methods and knowing the U.S. had designated it as a foreign terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Months of intercepted phone conversations included discussion of suicide bombing, assassinations, and jihad. We are satisfied that because of this investigation and prosecution, we have furthered our mission to safeguard national security by blocking financial support to this dangerous group.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Daphne Hearn, stated, “I want to commend the work of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who worked countless hours to successfully investigate and prosecute this case. As demonstrated in this case, the multi-agency partnerships which make up the JTTF continue to play a critical role in the day-to-day protection of our communities and our national security.”
“Today’s sentencing underscores HSI’s commitment to aggressively investigate those who engage in or attempt to support the financing of foreign terrorist organizations,” said Nick Annan, acting Special Agent in Charge for ICE HSI in San Diego. “I commend all of our partners on the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force for their exhaustive efforts to dismantle the plot that aimed to provide support to terrorists who wish to harm us.”
Moalin and his co-conspirators were found guilty during a three-week trial in February. The United States presented evidence that Moalin, Mohamud, Doreh, and a fourth defendant, Ahmed Nasiri Taalil Mohamud, conspired to provide money to al Shabaab, a violent and brutal militia group that engages in suicide bombings, targets civilians for assassination, and uses improvised explosive devices. In February 2008, the U.S. Department of State formally designated al Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization.
At trial, the jury listened to dozens of the defendants’ intercepted telephone conversations, including many between Moalin and Ayrow. In those calls, Ayrow implored Moalin to send money to al Shabaab, telling Moalin that it was “time to finance the jihad.”
Ayrow told Moalin, “You are running late with the stuff. Send some and something will happen.” Ayrow was subsequently killed in a missile strike on May 1, 2008.
According to evidence at trial, the defendants conspired to transfer the funds from San Diego to Somalia through the Shidaal Express***, a now-defunct money transmitting business in San Diego.
*** We wrote about funny-money business at the Shidaal Express here as early as 2009. These Somali money transfer businesses are spread throughout America.
Drawing (with caption) is from this 2010 story at KPBS.
For more on how we came to have so many Somali refugees, see this 2008 post.
One final thought and I should have said it yesterday in the post about Iraqi terrorists in the US: long term the greatest threat to our way of life is not the isolated Islamic terrorist sneaking in, but the cultural and societal changes that a growing population of Muslims will bring to America which we often refer to as the quiet Jihad.