Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn on Monday charged an Illinois truck driver with being part of a “network” of Uzbeki men that has allegedly conspired to raise money to send multiple recruits overseas to fight with the Islamic State terror group in Syria.
Dilshod Khusanov, 31, was arrested in Villa Park, Illinois, near Chicago, and accused in court filings of giving financial aid to Akhror Saidakhmatov, a Brooklyn man stopped at Kennedy Airport on his way to Syria in 2015 who has since pleaded guilty to trying to join ISIS.
But in a memo asking a judge in Chicago to detain Khusanov, prosecutors described him as part of a larger fundraising web to support aspiring jihadists seeking to join ISIS or the al Nusra Front, another terror group.
“Since the summer of 2014, the FBI has been investigating a domestic network based in New York and elsewhere that has been providing financial support for individuals who seek to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS or ANF,” the government said in the memo.
Khusanov, like his co-conspirators, was a member of the domestic support network for such individuals,” the memo continued. “He donated his own money, and he worked with his co-conspirators to raise money from others that was intended to be used to help other individuals to travel to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIS or ANF.”
Saidakhmatov and Abdurasul Juraboev, also from Brooklyn, were charged in 2015 with plotting to join ISIS, and had allegedly discussed killing President Barack Obama and attacking police. Abror Habibov, a Brooklyn mall kiosk operator, was charged at the time with providing money to help the two.
Those three have all pleaded guilty — Habibov on Tuesday — and are awaiting sentencing. Khusanov is the latest among four others — also including Dilkhayot Kasimov, Akmal Zakirov and Azizjon Rakhmatov — who have since been charged with aiding the venture.
Saidakhmatov is a Kazakh. Juraboev, Habibov, Khusanov and the other three — Dilkhayot Kasimov, Akmal Zakirov and Azizjon Rakhmatov — are all Uzbek nationals, according to the government.
In its court filings, prosecutors linked Khusanov to the men backing Juraboev and Saidakhmatov — alleging that he helped compile a kitty of $2,400 for their journey — but also indicated he was part of a network that helped finance a number of other recruits.
“Although Saidakhmatov was apprehended before he could travel to Syria to wage violent jihad, the investigation has identified multiple persons who traveled successfully to Syria to join and fight with either ISIS or ANF,” the government said.
Khusanov, identified by prosecutors as a “truck driver who frequently travels across the East Coast,” was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terror group and attempting to provide such support. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
He was detained by a federal judge in Chicago on Tuesday and is due back in court on Sept. 7. His defense lawyer, Joshua Kutnick, declined to comment on the case.