New York: A federal grand jury has indicted a Pakistani doctor and former Mayo Clinic research coordinator for providing support to a terrorist group after he told paid informants that he planned to carry out attacks against the US, media reports said.
The Pakistani doctor was identified as Muhammad Masood.
Masood was formally charged Friday for his alleged ties to the Islamic State but has been in custody since he was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on March 19, reported New York Post.
Federal prosecutors said Masood told informants that he was working for the jihadist group, which controls large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. They said he was in the US on a work visa, the newspaper reported.
From January to March, Masood made several statements to informants he believed were members of the Islamic State, expressing a desire to fight for the group in Syria and carry out attacks against the US, the newspaper reported quoting court papers.
In one instance, Masood messaged an informant: “there is so much I wanted to do here … lon wulf [sic] stuff you know … but I realized I should be on the ground helping brothers sisters kids,” according to court papers as reported by New York Post.
The doctor was arrested in March at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
According to the allegations in the complaint, Masood, a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan, was formerly employed as a Research Coordinator for a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, under an H-1B Visa.
Between January 2020 and March 2020, Masood made several statements to others, including pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) and its leader, and expressing his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. Masood also expressed his desire to conduct “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in the United States, read the statement issued by US Department of Justice earlier.
On Feb. 21, 2020, Masood purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria. On March 16, 2020, Masood’s travel plans changed because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Masood made a new plan to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel via cargo ship to deliver him to ISIS territory.
On March 19, 2020, Masood traveled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles, California. Upon arrival at MSP, Masood checked in for his flight and was subsequently arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, read the statement.
The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, it said.
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