An Islamic State wannabe from the Bronx who said he used decapitation music videos for motivation during workouts and helped an undercover agent prepare to join the terror group overseas was detained Tuesday on terrorism charges in Manhattan federal court.
Sajir Alimehmeti, 22, was stopped twice in 2014 flying into Britain, first with nunchuks and fatigues in his bags and later because of pictures of the ISIS flag and explosive device attacks on his cellphone, a criminal complaint said.
Alimehmeti, described by his lawyer as a former plumber’s assistant and funeral services school student, allegedly purchased military-style equipment including knives and steel-knuckled gloves online last year, and told undercover operatives he was anxious to join the terror group himself.
“I’m ready to . . . go with you, man,” he told an agent last week, according to the complaint. “I’m done with this place.”
Alimehmeti, also known as Abdul Qawii, a U.S. citizen, was charged with providing material support to a terror organization and passport fraud, and faces up to 30 years in prison, officials said.
He was detained without bail after prosecutors said Alimehmeti was a danger, that a $2,400 cash wad was found wrapped around his passport at his apartment, that he had prior convictions for robbery and assault, and that his parents were in Albania, where his brother is facing weapons charges.
U.S. Magistrate Gabriel Gorenstein rejected arguments by defense lawyer Silvie Levine that everything Alimehmeti did was prompted by undercover agents from the FBI and the NYPD, and that he talked about doing things himself but never carried them out.
The complaint against Alimehmeti included images copied from his cellphone by British officials on his second attempt to enter there in December 2014, among them pictures of him with an Islamic State flag, and pictures of him in “Middle Eastern attire” making a finger-pointing gesture allegedly signifying support for the terror group.
The government said his laptop had speeches by the late al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and that during a meeting with an undercover this month he played two Islamic State music videos, called “nasheeds,” one showing decapitations.
“Alimehmeti stated . . . that these nasheeds keep him motivated while he is exercising,” the complaint said.
Last week, according to the charges, Alimehmeti was lured into helping an undercover agent whom he believed was an Islamic State recruit transiting New York to go to the Mideast.