AL-QAEDA CONSPIRACY IN MINNESOTA
A Minneapolis man charged last year with conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda is facing additional terrorism-related charges brought by a federal grand jury. The suspect reportedly attended an Al-Qaeda terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.
Mohammed Abdulla Warsame, 31, a citizen of Somalia, was initially charged in January 2004 with a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to Al-Qaeda. A superseding indictment unsealed on June 22 adds one count of providing material support to Al-Qaeda, and three counts of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents.
According to the superseding indictment, Warsame provided false statements to the FBI when he claimed that since 1995 he had traveled only to Saudi Arabia and Somalia. However, from 2000 through 2001, Warsame actually traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to attend military training camps and participate in combat. He also made false statements about his frequent contact with associates he met while attending military training camps in Afghanistan. These associates have since relocated to Canada, Pakistan and elsewhere throughout the world.
Warsame was also charged with making a false statement regarding his financial support of associates he met while attending military training camps, omitting his collection and transfer of about $2,000 to an associate in Pakistan.
If convicted, Warsame faces a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of making a false statement.
In an unrelated case last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removal officers deported an MS-13 gang member to Honduras today who was convicted of kidnapping a Minneapolis woman. Counterterrorism experts believe MS-13 has ties to terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda.
Jose Raul Maldonado-Zelaya, 18, illegally entered the United States from Mexico in 2000. On Oct. 5, 2003, he grabbed a woman who was jogging with her dog on Kenwood Parkway in Minneapolis, forced her to the ground face-down and straddled her, covering her mouth with his hand, according to court documents. The woman was eventually able to free one arm and bite Maldonado-Zelaya's hand; when he pulled away, she kicked and screamed for help. Maldonado-Zelaya fled on a bicycle and was arrested by Minneapolis Police officers a short time later as he spoke to another woman walking a dog.
Maldonado-Zelaya was charged and convicted of kidnapping and false imprisonment in Hennepin County District Court. He was given a 21-month stayed adult prison sentence in January 2004 and was placed on Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction probation. As part of his probation, Maldonado-Zelaya was ordered to complete a program for juveniles at the Red Wing Correctional Facility.
District Judge Warren R. Sagstuen revoked Maldonado-Zelaya's probation in September after finding that while at the Red Wing facility he had threatened peers and staff, assaulted staff, engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, and failed to register with the state as a predatory offender. Judge Sagstuen then executed the adult prison sentence.
Maldonado-Zelaya was incarcerated in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, where he spent his entire six-month stay in segregation because of aggressive and disruptive behavior. ICE special agents encountered him there and placed a "detainer" on him, to ensure that prison officials notified ICE prior to Maldonado-Zelaya's release. ICE routinely checks jails and prisons nationwide to locate, identify and then deport criminal aliens.
During an interview conducted by an ICE special agent, Maldonado-Zelaya admitted he is a member of the violent MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang. He said he joined the gang while serving a three-year sentence in a juvenile prison in Mexico after attacking someone with a machete.
The MS-13 gang originated in Los Angeles, its original membership drawn from natives of El Salvador who came to the United States in the 1980s. Threat assessments conducted by ICE field offices indicate that a large number of current MS-13 members are foreign-born and in the country illegally.
US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Police Times
© 2005 Jim Kouri- All
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Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
MS-13 gang member to Honduras today who was convicted of kidnapping a Minneapolis woman. Counterterrorism experts believe MS-13 has ties to terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda.