COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio man charged with plotting to kill military members in the U.S. after receiving training in Syria pleaded guilty two years ago to terrorism charges, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a Somali-born naturalized citizen of the U.S., pleaded guilty in August 2015 to supporting terrorism, supporting a terrorist group and making a false statement to authorities about international terrorism.
Federal prosecutors said Mohamud received training in 2014 on weapons, combat and tactics in Syria and then returned to the U.S. with a plan to kill military officers or others in uniform. They say he also researched places to carry out the attacks and had booked a flight to Texas.
Mohamud, now 25, was living in Columbus when he was taken into custody.
It's unclear why almost two years have passed since his guilty plea and the unsealing of the documents. The Department of Justice said the plea was sealed because of an ongoing investigation.
Defense attorney Sam Shamansky said Thursday he couldn't comment on reasons for the delay. He said all sides have worked hard to come up with a fair resolution.
A sentencing date has not been set. The two charges of supporting terrorism each carry a potential sentence of 15 years in prison while the charge of lying to authorities could bring eight years.
Court documents say that Mohamud obtained a passport to travel to Greece but instead went to Syria for training and expressed a desire to die fighting there. But he returned to the U.S. after his brother was killed while fighting for a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda, the documents said.
Mohamud told someone he wanted to travel to Texas and capture three or four soldiers and execute them, the documents said.
While back in the U.S., he stayed in contact with members of the terrorist organization he had trained with in Syria and he later booked a flight from Columbus to Dallas in late 2014, the court documents said.