Canadian sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison for recruiting ISIS fighters
Edmonton man directly funded 'violent acts of terrorism'
An Edmonton man who was extradited to the United States was sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison on Monday for helping at least a half-dozen Canadians and Americans join the Islamic State group in Syria in 2013 and 2014.
Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi directly funded "violent acts of terrorism," including the kidnapping and killing of people in Syria, said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman in a statement.
Abdullahi acknowledged in a plea agreement that he helped a resident of San Diego, Douglas McAuthur McCain, join ISIS.
McCain was killed in Syria while fighting alongside ISIS fighters against Syrian opposition forces in 2014, the first known American to die fighting for the militant organization.
Prosecutors also said Abdullahi provided money to four cousins — three from Edmonton and an 18-year-old cousin from Minneapolis, Minn. — to join ISIS fighters in Syria.
The men all died in combat, according to the U.S. government.
He also admitted to robbing an Edmonton jewelry store in January 2014 to raise money to fund the foreign fighters. Weeks after committing that robbery, Abdullahi sent money to McCain so he could go to Syria.
Abdullahi was indicted in California in March 2017 and arrested by Canadian authorities in September 2017.
In June 2019, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld his extradition and the justice department statement says he was turned over to U.S. authorities later that year.
McCain's brother, Marchello McCain, was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in U.S. federal prison for making false statements during several interviews with federal agents from 2014 to 2015, including denying knowing that his brother planned to fight for ISIS.
He told the FBI that he thought his brother was going to Turkey to play music and teach English.
The U.S. announced earlier this month it killed three ISIS leaders in two separate operations, including a rare ground raid in a part of northeast Syria under government control.
Despite their defeat in Syria in 2019, when ISIS lost the last sliver of land its fighters once controlled, the extremists' sleeper cells have continued to carry out deadly attacks in Syria and Iraq. ISIS fighters once held large parts of the two countries.