USA TODAY: Two Virginia men were charged Saturday with attempting to support the Islamic State terror group following the arrest of one of the suspects at the Richmond International Airport, where he was beginning alleged travel to Syria.
Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, a U.S. citizen, was detained Friday as he attempted to board a flight to Chicago, where he allegedly was planning to reach Syria through Jordan. Amand Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, a legal permanent resident of the United States, is accused of facilitating Farrokh’s travel plans, including driving him to Richmond from their homes in Woodbridge, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
According to court documents, Farrokh had been planning to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, since late November and had allegedly met with a federal law enforcement informant, through Elhassan, who both believed to be associated with the terrorist group.
Prosecutors allege that Elhassan was aware of Farrokh’s plans to travel to join the Islamic State and was aware that his friend was attempting to mask his travel to Syria by telling family members that he intended to study in Saudi Arabia.
Elhassan allegedly picked up Farrokh on Friday morning for the drive to Richmond and a location about a mile from the airport. Farrokh took a taxi the rest of the way, checked in for the Chicago flight and cleared security before he was arrested by FBI agents.
Agents arrested Elhassan on Friday afternoon when he allegedly made “a number of false statements” to investigators.
Both men are scheduled to make their first appearances Tuesday in an Alexandria, Va., federal court. If convicted, both suspects face a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.