|U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 29, 2015|
CHICAGO—A Bolingbrook man pleaded guilty today to a federal charge that he attempted to travel overseas to join a foreign terrorist organization in Syria.
MOHAMMED HAMZAH KHAN, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The organization is identified in a written plea agreement as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”).
Khan, a U.S. citizen from southwest suburban Bolingbrook, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. did not immediately schedule a sentencing hearing. A status hearing was set for Dec. 3, 2015, at 11:30 a.m.
Khan has been detained in federal custody since he was arrested on Oct. 4, 2014, at O’Hare International Airport by members of the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Beginning no later than approximately February 2014, Khan used the Internet to obtain introductions to ISIL members in Syria and to assist him with traveling there to join the terrorist group, according to the plea agreement. Khan spoke with ISIL members to coordinate the logistics of his admission into ISIL-controlled territory, the plea agreement states.
Khan admitted in the plea agreement that he knew ISIL had been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. Upon arriving in Syria, according to the plea agreement, Khan intended to work under the direction and control of ISIL, and be required to take any assignment ISIL gave him.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force is comprised of Special Agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Illinois State Police also provided significant assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Hiller, Angel Krull and Sean Driscoll; and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe of the National Security Division.