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Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Al Qaeda-Linked Terrorism Charges

Update: Mohammed Abdullah Warsame was sentenced to 92 months in prison on July 9, 2009.

Posted: June 1, 2009

A Minneapolis resident accused of aiding and communicating with Al Qaeda has pleaded guilty to supporting the terrorist group.

Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, 35, a naturalized Canadian citizen from Somalia, pleaded guilty in a Minnesota federal court to conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda on May 20, 2009.  According to the plea agreement, Warsame provided Al Qaeda with personnel, training and material support from 2000 to 2003.   

Warsame attended an Al Qaeda training camp outside Kabul, Afghanistan in 2000 before traveling to Al Qaeda's Al Faruq camp, where he attended lectures given by Osama bin Laden.  Warsame engaged in weapons, tactics and martial arts training at the terrorist camps, which also offered specialized courses in explosives and poisons, according to court documents.  Upon finishing his training at the camps, Warsame worked as a guard at an Al Qaeda guesthouse and clinic affiliated with Al Faruq.            

Warsame traveled to Canada in 2001 and established e-mail communication with Al Qaeda associates he met in Afghanistan.  He also sent money to a commander of one of the terrorist training camps he attended.     

Warsame moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2002 after obtaining an immigrant visa, according to an FBI affidavit.  Since their marriage in 1995, Warsame's wife has lived in Minneapolis, from where approximately 20 young Somali-American men have traveled to Somalia to join a U.S. designated terrorist group. 

Warsame, a former student at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, continued to communicate with several Al Qaeda associates after relocating to Minneapolis.  He was arrested in December 2003 under a material witness warrant.  

Warsame was first charged in January 2004 with one count of conspiring to provide support to Al Qaeda.  A superseding indictment unsealed in June 2005 added another count of providing material support to Al Qaeda and three counts of making false statements to the FBI about his travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan and his frequent contact with and financial support of Al Qaeda associates.  In exchange for his guilty plea, the U.S. government agreed to dismiss the remaining charges.  

Warsame faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and will be deported to Canada upon completion of his sentence.

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