NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A Hudson County man was arrested at his home Monday morning for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, U.S.
Alaa Saadeh, 23, of West New York, is charged by complaint with conspiring with other individuals in New Jersey and New York to provide services and personnel to ISIS, aiding and abetting an attempt to provide services and personnel to ISIL, and attempting to persuade a witness to lie to the FBI.
His lawyer says the American-born suspect had a decent work history and no criminal record.
According to documents filed in the case, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) have been investigating a group of individuals from New York and New Jersey who have allegedly conspired to provide material support to ISIS.
Conspirator 1 (CC-1) lived in Rutherford until leaving the country on May 5, 2015, allegedly to join ISIS.
Conspirator 2 (CC-2) is a Queens resident until he was arrested in New York on June 13, 2015, on terrorism charges.
Samuel Rahamin Topaz was a Fort Lee resident until he was arrested in New Jersey on June 17, 2015, and charged with conspiring to provide services and personnel to ISIS.
Authorities say when CC-1 attempted to travel to the Middle East via John F. Kennedy International Airport, allegedly in order to join ISIS, he was accompanied by Saadeh and CC-2. On the way to the airport, CC-1 allegedly stated that he, Saadeh, CC-2, and Topaz had plans to reunite overseas within a few weeks.
After CC-1's departure, and despite learning from CC-1's family that he had been arrested in Jordan on suspicion of supporting ISIS, Saadeh, CC-2, and Topaz allegedly continued to discuss their plan to travel overseas to join ISIS.
Electronic communications later recovered from Topaz's phone corroborated their plans. On May 21, 2015, prosecutors say Saadeh and Topaz discussed the need to "lay low" and refrain from taking action in furtherance of the conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS that might be detected by law enforcement.
Saadeh and Topaz also allegedly discussed needing to meet in person to discuss "hijra," which Topaz later told members of the JTTF that referred to traveling overseas to join ISIL. The next day, Saadeh allegedly told another individual that he suspected that CC-2 or Topaz had "snitched" on CC-1 and caused his arrest overseas, and, if that was true, Saadeh thought he would have to "kill someone."
In recorded conversations with an informant, Saadeh revealed his support for ISIS, including its use of beheadings and mass killings to impose its violent agenda. He said he planned to travel overseas with CC-2 at some point. Saadeh allegedly said he knew CC-1 planned to travel to join ISIS before CC-1 departed the United States, and that he bought CC-1's airline ticket despite knowing this.
The investigation also revealed that Saadeh provided CC-1 transportation and removed a SIM card from CC-1's phone in an apparent effort to hide incriminating communications and other data.
In June, after becoming aware that he was under FBI surveillance, Saadeh allegedly directed an individual in New Jersey not to tell the FBI about CC-1's support for ISIS or CC-1's plans to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Saadeh instructed the individual to "play dumb" and be "honest up to a point," but to be sure not to tell the FBI anything about ISIS.
With Saadeh's arrest, the FBI believes it has rounded up the entire group of local young men who had taken up ISIS' call to join their fight.
Each count in the complaint carries a maximum of potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
With Independence Day this weekend, federal authorities are being extra vigilant and sent out a bulletin saying, "July Fourth celebrations and any activity which appears to defame the prophet Mohammed will likely result in threats or plans to conduct violent extremist acts." Authorities "remain concerned about the difficulty in detecting violent extremists-especially lone offenders given the individualized nature of radicalization to violence."
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