New Jersey man charged with conspiracy to provide support to ISIL

New Jersey man charged with conspiracy to provide support to ISIL

NEW YORK - Reuters
New Jersey man charged with conspiracy to provide support to ISIL

US Attorney for New Jersey Paul J. Fishman. AP Photo

US authorities on June 18 charged a New Jersey man with conspiring to support the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the fourth person arrested in recent days in and around New York City as part of a broader investigation. 

Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was arrested at his home on June 17, the Justice Department said. A magistrate judge ordered him detained following a court appearance in federal court in Newark. 

According to a criminal complaint, he had communicated frequently with Munther Omar Saleh, a college student from Queens who was arrested on Saturday along with an unnamed co-conspirator when they ran at a surveillance vehicle. 

Saleh, 20, was accused of plotting to set off an explosive device in the city on behalf of ISIL. 

A third man, Fareed Mumuni, 21, was arrested on Wednesday when he tried to stab an FBI agent executing a search warrant at his home in the New York City borough of Staten Island. 

The arrests are among a slew of U.S. prosecutions in recent months involving individuals accused of trying to aid ISIL. Federal officials have said they are actively investigating such cases in all 50 states. 

Topaz planned to travel abroad to fight alongside ISIL, prosecutors said. According to the complaint, an unidentified person who knew him expressed concerns to the FBI that Topaz might travel overseas and "do something stupid." 

The person took Topaz's passport away at one point, the complaint said. 

Saleh, whom the person described as the group's "leader," met with Topaz in New Jersey and in lower Manhattan, near the World Trade Center, according to court papers. 

On June 15, two days after Saleh's arrest, Topaz wrote to an unnamed individual, "We gotta leave ASAP," after he could not reach Saleh, the documents said. 

Ian Hirsch, Topaz's court-appointed lawyer, declined to comment on the allegations, saying he needed time to examine them more thoroughly. 

It is not clear whether more arrests are expected. The complaint against Topaz refers to two additional unnamed  co-conspirators from New Jersey, including one who left the United States in May, allegedly to join ISIL.

"Providing fighters and resources to a terrorist organization like ISIL is a threat to our country and its citizens," New Jersey US Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.