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Charges Unsealed in International Terrorism Conspiracy; Maryland Student Among Those Charged

Update: On May 4, 2012, Mohammad Hassan Khalid pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Posted: October 25, 2011

A federal grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old Maryland man for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.


Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a legal permanent resident from Pakistan living in Baltimore, was charged in an indictment unsealed on October 20, 2011, with soliciting funds for terrorists and recruiting potential terrorists online. He was arrested July 6, 2011.


The charges against Khalid stem from a larger terrorist conspiracy involving several Americans and foreign nationals since at least 2008. Khalid, who started his online activities at the age of 15, is reportedly the youngest person to be charged with providing material support in the United States.


A 46-year-old Algerian national, Ali Charaf Damache, is also charged in the indictment for his role in the conspiracy. The apparent ring leader, Damache is in Irish custody on unrelated charges and the United States plans to seek his extradition.


Khalid and Damache allegedly conspired to coordinate attacks in Europe and South Asia with Colleen LaRose, who pleaded guilty to recruiting terrorists online in 2011. The men met LaRose, commonly referred to as "Jihad Jane," in an online chat room. Damache married an associate of LaRose, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, who joined him in Ireland. Paulin-Ramirez pleaded guilty to similar charges for her role in the international conspiracy.  


Damache specifically targeted LaRose and Paulin-Ramirez for recruitment because they were women and had the ability to travel internationally with relative ease. In an intercepted communication allegedly from Damache, he described his strategy to send recruits to a "camp for training… th[e]n come back to Europe to do the job…to knock down some individual[s] that are harming Islam." 


Although not directly implicated in court documents, there is reason to believe that Khalid also communicated online with Emerson Begolly, a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to solicitation of acts of terrorism and weapons charges in August 2011. 


Federal officials point to the role of the internet in this case and evidence of the "evolving nature of violent extremism" that "used the internet to further their radicalization and contribute to the radicalization of others."


Khalid pleaded not guilty on October 24, 2011. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison followed by deportation. Damache, who is awaiting extradition, faces up to 45 years imprisonment. 

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