Canadian pleads guilty in US court for funding ISIS activities

By Tom Yun, Editor, CTVNews.ca

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CTV Network) – A Canadian citizen pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Friday to funding ISIS militants in Syria.

In a press release, the US Department of Justice said former Edmonton resident Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi admitted to providing material support to those involved in ISIS terrorist activities and accepted a sentence of 20 years in prison.

Between November 2013 and March 2014, Abdullahi wired money to his four cousins ​​as well as Douglas McCain, a resident of San Diego, for plane tickets and living expenses. This included US $ 3,100 to McCain, who was the first American known 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 said Abdullahi also wired money to middlemen in Gaziantep, Turkey, a town 65 kilometers from the Syrian border, which was also used to support those involved in the Islamic State.

Abdullahi also admitted to having committed an armed robbery in an Edmonton jewelry store in order to finance these activities, according to the American authorities. He still faces robbery charges in Canada.

“The accused committed violent criminal acts to obtain money to help finance Douglas McCain’s trip abroad to fight for the Islamic State, where McCain was ultimately killed,” he said. FBI special agent Suzanne Turner in press release.

McCain’s brother, Marchello Dsaun McCain, was convicted in 2018 for illegal possession of firearms and for making false statements to FBI agents regarding his knowledge of the plot, including the role of Abdullahi.

Abdullahi was arrested by Canadian authorities in September 2017 after being indicted by a federal grand jury in California.

An extradition order for Abdullahi was granted by an Alberta judge in May 2018. Canadian federal prosecutors said Abdullahi used draft emails to a shared email address to communicate with his co-conspirators.

At the time, his defense attorney argued that the draft emails were insufficient 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, U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of California, thanked the RCMP, the Edmonton Police Department, and federal and provincial prosecutors across Canada for their cooperation.

“Terrorist networks cannot survive without people like Abdullahi,” Grossman said in the press release. “Our top priority is to protect Americans from terrorists, and with today’s guilty plea, we have delivered justice to someone who directly funded the violence.”

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