U.S. law enforcement officials were able to track down a young man from Queens after he tried to enter Syria allegedly to join ISIS. He was arrested at JFK airport in New York after being flown back to the U.S.
“Ahmed sought to take up arms with violent terrorists who have killed numerous innocent victims, including Americans,” acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said. “This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to arrest and prosecute extremists before they are able to threaten the United States and its allies.”
Anti-terror experts had been following Parveg Ahmed, a 22-year old from Ozone Park, NY. Last month, they obtained a warrant to search his personal computer. They found that he had been listening to radical Islamists such as American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a top leader in al-Qaeda, as well as Abdullah Faisal, a Jamaican-born cleric, who was convicted in the UK for solicitation to commit murder and radical preaching such as urging the killing of Americans who he called enemies of Islam. Faisal is now awaiting trial in the U.S.
Ahmed also expressed support on social media for ISIS and researched which territories were controlled by the terror group.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill noted how “Ahmed also took extraordinary measures to destroy the electronic foot print he created,” yet law enforcement officers were able to track him down in Jordan while attempting to cross into Syria.
“This type of work goes on every day at the nation’s first Joint Terrorism Task Force here in Manhattan,” added O’Neill.
Ahmed traveled to Saudi Arabia with his father to celebrate an Islamic holiday. His father returned but Ahmed said he wanted to stay. He traveled to Jordan with an informant where he was arrested.
Ahmed sent electronic messages along the way saying, for example, “(W)e have made it to Dawlatul Islam (ISIS) in Syria. In sha Allah (God willing) we will join the Jihad very soon and in Sha Allah we will then join the ranks of the Shuhuda (martyrs). The West has invaded the land of the Muslims and is constantly attacking it.”
He was eventually released by Jordanian authorities after which his father sent him a plane ticket back to the U.S. It is unclear whether he used that ticket to fly back to the U.S. or was flown back by U.S. authorities.
Ahmed, who is a naturalized American citizen, was originally from Bangladesh. His family expressed shock at his plans and subsequent arrest. “He got religious in the last year. Not radical, just religious,” his brother said off-camera to NBC News. “He said ISIS was bad just a few months ago.”
Ahmed faces 20 years in prison if convicted.