August 11, 2015

Two New York City Residents Charged with Attempt and Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL

Yesterday, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned an indictment charging Munther Omar Saleh, a Queens resident, with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers. The same indictment charges Fareed Mumuni, a Staten Island resident, with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers, and attempted murder of federal officers. The defendants’ arraignments are scheduled for August 20, 2015 at 11 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge James Orenstein at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD). As alleged in the indictment and in other court filings, during the charged conspiracy the defendants espoused radical jihadist beliefs and fervent support for ISIL. Saleh also made efforts to prepare a “pressure cooker” bomb for detonation in the New York metropolitan area on behalf of ISIL. On June 13, 2015, Saleh and another individual were arrested in Queens after they charged at a federal officer while armed with knives. On June 17, 2015, during the execution of a search warrant at his residence in Staten Island, Mumuni was arrested after repeatedly stabbing an FBI agent in the torso with a large kitchen knife. Fortunately, the knife did not penetrate the agent’s body armor. During a search of the vehicle used by Mumuni, investigators recovered a second large knife.

“As alleged in the indictment, both Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni demonstrated their support for ISIL by attacking the law enforcement officers. The arresting officers exercised extraordinary skill and remarkable restraint in subduing the defendants, who will now face the full force of justice in federal court.” Mr. Currie extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which comprises a number of federal, state, and local agencies.

“According to the indictment, Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni conspired to provide material support to ISIL and devised a plan to conduct an attack in New York. During his arrest, Mumuni stabbed an FBI agent numerous times, but thankfully the agent’s body armor protected him from the defendant’s attack, and the defendant was safely apprehended by law enforcement,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority, and we will continue to seek justice against those who conspire to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations—and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals who attempt to harm the brave law enforcement officials who risk their lives to protect us.”

“These indictments remind us of the dangers faced by law enforcement and the community alike. The FBI remains vigilant in its pursuit against violence and restrained in its apprehension of such offenders. We are grateful for the safety of our agents and will continue to work to eliminate threats to our country with the help of our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.

“Stabbing an FBI agent and providing material support to a designated terrorist organization are a recipe for indictment, as alleged. I commend the agents and detectives from the Manhattan-based Joint Terrorism Task Force and prosecutors in the Eastern District for their work on this case,” said Police Commissioner Bratton.

If convicted, Mumuni faces a maximum sentence of 85 years’ imprisonment and Saleh faces a maximum sentence of 65 years’ imprisonment. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda, and Ian C. Richardson are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Robert Sander of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section.