Federal authorities have arrested two Texas men for allegedly providing support to terrorists in the United States who want to engage in violent jihad overseas.
Rahatul Ashikim Khan, 23, and Michael Todd Wolfe, 23, were officially charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in an Austin court on Wednesday.
Khan, a U.S. citizen born in Bangladesh and full-time student at University of Texas, reportedly used Internet chatrooms between March 2011 and January 2012 to recruit possible terrorists in the United States, a complaint filed in the U.S. Western district of Texas states.
Khan allegedly used the Internet to recruit one man to “maim and murder people outside the United States” and also “discussed guns, training, the war against Islam, his preparation for the Third World War, shooting and getting the youth interested in the knowledge of jihad (inner struggle/holy war) — something that Khan stated had caused conflict with his parents because he had snitched on some kids,” according to the complaint.
The other suspect, Wolfe, is a U.S. citizen born in Houston, Texas, plotted to travel to Syria through Turkey to take part in violent jihad, federal authorities say.
According to the federal complaint, Wolfe told an undercover investigator that he assisted potential terrorists who wanted to go to Somalia and Syria to engage in terrorist activity. Over the past several months, Wolfe had allegedly been acquiring birth certificates and passports for him, his wife and two children.
He was reportedly arrested at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston Tuesday when he tried to board a plane to Toronto.
“This case is the culmination of a long-term investigation by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force made up of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Central Texas,” United States Attorney Robert Pitman said. “Protecting the citizens of this community from the threat of harm both from within the United States and abroad is our highest priority, and we will continue to work with our partners to detect, investigate and prosecute those who seek to advance their ideology through acts of terrorism.”
Both men face up to 15 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines if convicted.