the takedown

Two Virginia Men Accused of Alleged Plan to Join ISIS

Two Virginia men were arrested and charged for criminal activity related to joining ISIS, the FBI announced Saturday.

Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, and Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, both of Woodbridge, VA, were unknowingly working with FBI informants for months to help Farrokh join the Islamic State in Syria.

Investigators took Farrokh into custody Friday as he attempted to board his flight out of Richmond International Airport, charging him with attempting to provide material support to terrorists, according to court documents. Farrokh’s plan was to fly from Richmond to Chicago and then onto Amman, Jordan. From there, he would make his way to Syria, according to the federal complaint.

Officials also arrested Elhassan, who gave Farrokh a ride to the airport, charging him with aiding and abetting Farrokh's plot.

Elhassan allegedly picked up Farrokh from his home Friday and drove him in a taxi to about a mile from the Richmond airport, where a second taxi picked him up and took him the rest of the way.

Farrokh, a US citizen born in Pennsylvania, and Elhassan, a legal permanent US resident originally from Sudan, made their first appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday.

At the preliminary court hearing for Elhassan, his lawyer, Ashraf Nubani told reporters the plot was manufactured by government informants, claiming federal agents target Muslim Americans for fake terror plots and then take credit for stopping them.

“They create cases, and then they prevent them from happening,” Nubani said.

Farrokh has a detention hearing Thursday at 2 p.m. and Elhassan's is next Tuesday, both men face up to 20 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine. 

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