John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Michael McGarrity, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (NYPD), announced that Delowar Mohammed Hossain was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) in Queens, New York. Hossain was charged in a criminal Complaint today with attempting to provide material support for acts of terrorism, specifically in support of killing U.S. nationals located overseas. Hossain was presented today before Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron in Manhattan federal court.
“As alleged, Hossain planned to travel overseas and join the Taliban in order to kill American soldiers,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the National Security Division is committed to preventing individuals from carrying out deadly plans such as this. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”
“As alleged, Delowar Hossain plotted to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban, specifically so he could commit acts of terrorism,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Hossain wanted to kill Americans, and particularly wanted to target members of our armed forces, serving our nation overseas. The excellent work of the FBI and NYPD stopped Hossain’s alleged deadly plan to join the Taliban before he took flight, and he now faces federal terrorism charges.”
“The lure of radical ideologies comes from many sources, and just because the Taliban may seem like an old and out of vogue extremist group, it shouldn’t be underestimated,” said Director-in-Charge Sweeney Jr. “The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force stopped Mr. Hossain from traveling overseas to allegedly support a deadly organization, and kept him from his alleged plan to kill innocent people.”
“The criminal complaint in this case reveals Delowar Hossain had a despicable goal. He wanted to make his way to Afghanistan, join up with Taliban forces, and kill Americans,” said Assistant Director McGarrity. “But he failed because members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force interrupted his plans. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to stop those who want to commit acts of terrorism here in the U.S. or overseas.”
“As we continue to see time and again, attempting to support terrorist attacks will lead to arrest,” said NYPD Commissioner O’Neil. “I commend the dedication of the NYPD detectives and FBI agents who, through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, remain relentless in their focus to keep New York City and our nation safe.”
As alleged in the criminal Complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court, beginning in the fall of 2018, Hossain expressed his desire to join the Taliban and fight against American forces. Over the months that followed, Hossain attempted to recruit a confidential source of the FBI (CS-1) to travel with Hossain from the United States to Pakistan, and then to cross the border into Afghanistan to join the Taliban. Hossain told CS-1 that his purpose was to “fight the American government from there . . . combined with the Taliban,” and that “I want to kill some kufars [non-believers] before I die.” Hossain described to CS-1 steps he had taken to prevent detection of his plan, such as planning to reach Pakistan by first flying to Thailand, which Hossain believed would conceal his ultimate goal of joining the Taliban. At the same time, Hossain made preparations to fight in Afghanistan, including buying equipment such as walkie-talkies and trekking gear and instructing CS-1 to save money “to buy weapons” after reaching Afghanistan.
Hossain purchased an airline ticket for a flight scheduled to depart on July 26, 2019, from JFK Airport, to Thailand, for the first leg of the route to Afghanistan that Hossain had described to CS-1. On July 26, Hossain traveled to JFK Airport, where the FBI arrested him after he attempted to board that flight.
Hossain, 33, of the Bronx, is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support for terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Assistant Attorney General John Demers and U.S. Attorney Berman praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists principally of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David W. Denton, Jr. and Michael K. Krouse are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Jennifer Burke of the Counterterrorism Section.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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