The latest ISIS sympathizer arrested in a New York area crackdown was charged Thursday with conspiring to aid the terrorist group.
Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, N.J., was charged in Newark federal court with conspiring with three other men to provide material support to ISIS and to travel overseas to join them.
Topaz was arrested at his home without incident Wednesday. He is being held without bail.
“Samuel Topaz is alleged to have conspired with others to travel abroad to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin in a statement.
“Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority. Stemming the flow of foreign fighters abroad and prosecuting those who attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations is key to our national security and public safety.”
The charge against Topaz carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
The Department of Justice said the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force had been investigating a group of individuals in the New York-New Jersey area. Topaz allegedly conspired with a Munther Omar Saleh of Queens, who was arrested Saturday in New York on terrorism charges, as well as another individual from Rutherford, New Jersey who fled the country May 5.
“Providing fighters and resources to a terrorist organization like ISIL is a threat to our country and its citizens,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul Fishman. “We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to disrupt the efforts of those who are trying to do harm at home and abroad.”
According to court documents, Topaz had discussed plans to leave the U.S May 1 with another suspect.
The conspirator sent a message to Topaz, saying that he was leaving in a few days and also asked him, “[d]id you do what i [sic] advised you to do.”
Topaz responded, “I’m saving my money for it bro trust me I got it.”
A few days later, Topaz reached out to Saleh saying that he had his passport but was short on cash to purchase a plane ticket, according to the court documents.
Saleh responded, “My trip is looking months away[.] if u can take a loan out for 5k or even 2.5k then ur [sic] good, they take US dollars in dawla so u can eat and buy stuff, and they provide u with housing when u reach the land of Islam.”
A few weeks later, the two allegedly dicussed “laying low” as they feared that law-enforcement was aware of their plans to travel overseas.
Saleh was arrested June 13 and charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.Two days later, Topaz wrote to an unknown individual saying, “We gotta leave ASAP.”