Chicago Taxi Driver Arrested for Planning to Bomb U.S. Stadium
UPDATE: On February 6, 2012, Raja Lahrasib Khan pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda.
Posted: April 2, 2010
A Chicago taxi driver has been arrested for allegedly providing funds to Al Qaeda associates and planning to bomb a stadium in the United States.
Raja Lahrasib Khan, 56, was arrested in Chicago on March 26, 2010. A criminal complaint filed the previous day charged Khan with two counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization in connection with his attempts to transfer funds to an alleged terrorist leader in Pakistan. Each count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleged that Khan, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, transferred approximately $950 to a Pakistani-based individual in November 2009. Khan allegedly earmarked approximately $300 of that money to "Lala," the nickname he used to refer to Ilyas Kashmiri, an operational chief for the Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami terrorist organization based in Pakistan and linked to Al Qaeda. Kashmiri has been indicted in a separate case for allegedly helping two other Chicago residents plan a terrorist attack against the offices and employees of a Danish newspaper that previously printed controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
In March 2010, Khan, who claimed to have known Kashmiri for at least 15 years, allegedly discussed plans to attack a "big stadium" in the U.S. during the summer. Khan, who told an associate that he would ask Kashmiri to teach him how to conduct such an attack, suggested placing remote-controlled bombs in several bags planted throughout the stadium. "Put one bag here, one there, one there…three, four, five different places," Khan said, "boom, boom, boom, boom."
That same month, Khan allegedly agreed to deliver $1,000 from an undercover law enforcement agent to Kashmiri, who, according to Khan, planned to use the money to purchase weapons and "whatever mujahideen [Muslim warriors] needs [sic], including possibly medicine, clothing and ammunition." According to the affidavit, Khan further detailed Kashmiri's intended use of the funds to train and send recruits to Kashmir, the Palestinian Territories, Bosnia and Georgia, as well as Kashmiri's intent to provide bomb-making training to American operatives planning to carry out attacks in the U.S.
Days before Khan's arrest, his son was stopped at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport while boarding a plane to England. According to federal authorities, the son was carrying $700 in cash that the undercover agent had given to Khan, who allegedly planned to travel to England meet his son before continuing to Pakistan to deliver the money to Kashmiri.