Former ISIL recruiter charged with attempted murder in a Kentucky prison

·3 min read
Courtesy: McClatchy Co.

A New York man previously convicted of recruiting people for a terrorist organization has been federally charged with attempting to murder someone in the U.S. prison in McCreary County.

Mufid Elfgeeh, of Rochester, New York, is charged with attempted murder of a victim identified only as “A.J.W.” in court documents. The incident occurred around Jan. 15, 2019, inside the penitentiary, according to court records.

Elfgeeh, 39, was charged in U.S. District Court this month, according to court records. The prison in McCreary County is a high-security federal facility for men. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to its website.

Since the incident in 2019, Elfgeeh has been transferred to prisons in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to court documents.

He was already serving a 22-year prison sentence for attempting to recruit fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly referred to as ISIL, according to the Department of Justice. He was sentenced in March 2016 by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford in New York.

The DOJ said Elfgeeh “actively recruited and attempted to send two individuals — both of whom were cooperating with the FBI at the time — to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIL” between December 2013 and May 2014.

Elfgeeh sent anti-American ISIL propaganda videos to a potential recruit and arranged for an English-speaking ISIL contact located in Iraq to communicate over social media.

Elfgeeh also paid more than $240 for that person to get copies of official travel documents, according to the DOJ

The DOJ said Elfgeeh also bought a laptop and camera for the recruits to take to Syria, gave them guidance to avoid detection while traveling, and prepared them for the vetting process to join ISIL, the DOJ said. Elfgeeh also arranged for an overseas contact to get the recruits into ISIL territory in Syria, the DOJ said.

Elfgeeh also communicated with the alleged leader of the Green Battalion of the United Rebels of Homs-Al-Murabitun, a group of fighters located in Syria, according to the DOJ.

Elfgeeh facilitated communication between the battalion leader and ISIL so the battalion could join ISIL, the DOJ said.

“In addition to all of the other criminal conduct, Elfgeeh used social media to receive and disseminate information about foreign terrorist groups and their activities in Syria and other countries; to declare his support for violent jihad, ISIL and other foreign terrorist groups; to inspire and encourage others to engage in violent jihad and/or pledge allegiance to ISIL and other foreign terrorist groups; and to seek financial contributions to assist jihadist fighters,” the DOJ said previously.

Elfgeeh was arrested in May 2014, just weeks after ISIL had been officially designated as a terrorist organization, according to the FBI. He is described as one of the first ISIL recruiters ever apprehended.

Elfgeeh is scheduled for his initial court appearance May 18 at 1:30 p.m. in London, records show. He faces 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release if convicted.