College Student Charged in Plot to Support Somali Terrorists
Posted: November 12, 2004
A Wyoming college student has been arrested and charged with planning to provide material support to a Somali terrorist group.
Mark Robert Walker, a student at Wyoming Technical College in Laramie, allegedly planned to travel to Somalia to fight with Ittihad Al Islamiya, a group allied with Al Qaeda and designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney in El Paso, Texas.
Walker, 19, of Rochester, New York, was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on November 6, 2004, as he entered the U.S. from Mexico at the Paso del Norte bridge in El Paso.
According to the FBI, Walker contributed posts to a “jihadist” Internet forum under the screen names “Abdullah” and “Abdullah313.” In one post, Walker allegedly wrote, “I hate the US government. I wish I could have been flying one of the planes on September 11th.”
Walker also allegedly communicated with a man named “Khalid” about providing Ittihad Al Islamiya with night vision goggles, bullet proof vests, weapons and ammunition, according to the complaint. During an interview with federal agents after his arrest, Walker reportedly acknowledged that he was planning to send equipment to the Somali group and that he intended to meet with an individual at the El Paso International Airport to talk about traveling to Somalia.
Agents found Kevlar vests and information about ammonium nitrate, nitric acid and weapons in Walker’s vehicle.
Walker fled to Mexico on October 28 after his roommate confronted him about using his computer to contact terrorists. The roommate then informed authorities in Laramie and the FBI placed Walker’s name on a watch list.
Officials indicated that Walker developed an interest in Islam at a mosque in Rochester.