Abukhdair and Wilson were both sentenced to serve 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release by the U.S. Probation Office to follow. As part of the plea agreements, the United States recommended the maximum possible sentence, 15 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Brown said, "The United States remains vigilant and will continue to investigate individuals who take action to materially support terrorist organizations around the world. Those who materially support the violence of terror groups will be brought to justice."
Special Agent in Charge Richardson stated, "This terrorism investigation sends a resounding message to all those individuals who wish to participate in terrorism acts and cause us harm that our resolve to both pursue them and protect the American people from the violent threats they pose is unwavering."
Abukhdair and Wilson were indicted by a grand jury in December 2012 for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, knowing or intending that their support was to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 956 (conspiracy to kill persons or damage property outside the United States) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A.
Wilson pleaded guilty to the charges on April 19, 2013. Abukhdair pleaded guilty on August 6, 2013. The charges stemmed from a conspiracy between Abukhdair and Wilson and others to travel from the United States to Mauritania intending to prepare to wage violent jihad there. Abukhdair and Wilson were the subjects of an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Mobile Division of the FBI.
Abukhdair was arrested by the FBI in Augusta, Georgia, at a bus terminal en route to fly to west Africa from outside the United States, and Wilson was arrested by the FBI in Atlanta as he attempted to board a flight to west Africa.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Mobile Division of the FBI conducted the investigation and presented the case for prosecution to the United States Attorney's Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Bodnar and Sean P. Costello, as well as Annamartine Salick from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division, handled the prosecution of the case on behalf of the United States.
--IBNS (Posted on 21-12-2013)