Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Philadelphia man charged with aiding Islamic terrorist group

A Philadelphia man was arrested Thursday and charged with aiding a group that has conducted terrorist attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, federal prosecutors said.

A Philadelphia man was arrested Thursday and charged with aiding a group that has conducted terrorist attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, federal prosecutors said.

Bakhtiyor Jumaev, 45, of Port Richmond, was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Jumaev was caught on a wiretap saying he wanted to "join the wedding," which prosecutors say was a reference to terrorist attacks. But his only real contribution, they say, was a $300 check.

Jumaev gave the contribution to Jamshid Muhtorov, who was arrested Jan. 21 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Muhtorov was carrying $2,800 in cash when he tried to catch a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, according to the criminal complaints filed against both men.

Prosecutors allege Jumaev intended for his contribution be delivered to the Islamic Jihad Union, a group that originated in Uzbekistan and that has committed suicide bombings and other attacks since 2004.

The group killed 47 people at a bazaar and police checkpoints and conducted simultaneous suicide bombings against the U.S. and Israeli Embassies. In 2008, it claimed responsibility for an attack against a U.S. military post in Afghanistan.

The United States has designated it a terrorist organization since June 2005.

Jumaev, who lived in the 3100 block of Richmond Street, faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence and maximum $250,000 fine if convicted.

He was arrested by members of the Philadelphia FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and appeared in U.S. District Court to be advised of the charges against him and his rights, prosecutors said.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) said the case was another illustration of terrorists' increasing use of the Internet to plan attacks. "This trend is alarming and presents enormous challenges for the intelligence community and law enforcement," said Meehan, former U.S. attorney and chairman of a congressional subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence.

According to the federal complaint, the FBI monitored mobile-phone conversations between Muhtorov and Jumaev after obtaining Jumaev T-Mobile number when he was arrested in 2010 on immigration charges.

Muhtorov, who lived in Colorado, delivered messages of support from Jumaev to the administrator of a website operated on behalf of the Islamic Jihad Union.

On March 6, 2011, Muhtorov e-mailed the administrator, Abu Muhammad, and wrote that he had delivered Muhammad's "hello" to Jumaev. "Muhtorov stated that Jumaev promised to send money to Abu Muhammad and the [Islamic Jihad Union] through Muhtorov," the complaint said.

Jumaev and Muhtorov spoke about "the wedding," "the wedding house," and "the wedding hosts," which were references to the Islamic Jihad Union and terrorist attacks.

"Jumaev stated that he wanted to join 'the wedding' like Muhtorov and that he envied Muhtorov," who was planning to join the group, the complaint said.

"Muhtorov told Muhammad that he was 'ready for any task,' even with the risk of dying," the complaint said.

Despite suspecting that their conversations were being monitored, they continued to have phone discussions related to the Islamic Jihad Union.

On one occasion when the topic of surveillance came up, "both Muhtorov and Jumaev then cursed whoever might be listening in on their conversations and called upon Allah to punish those who do so," the complaint said.

On Jan. 25, the FBI obtained records of Jumaev's YouTube account from Google, which owns the video-sharing service.

The FBI found that Jumaev had commented about eight times on videos featuring terrorist actions and footage of Tohir Yuldashev, who cofounded the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The Islamic Jihad Union splintered from the group in the early 2000s.

"Many of Jumaev's comments espoused support for the terrorists and/or Yuldashev," the complaint said.

After Muhtorov was arrested, Jumaev and another associate talked about coordinating their stories in case they were questioned by authorities.

Twice in February, FBI agents questioned Jumaev at his house, where he lived alone. He told them that he knew about the Islamic Jihad Union and that it was illegal to provide it with financial support.

Jumaev acknowledged giving Muhtorov $300 using an associate's checking account, but he claimed the money was repayment for a debt, the complaint said.

Neighbors on Richmond Street said they barely noticed Jumaev until Thursday, when the FBI showed up to arrest him. "I can't even tell you his name," said Robert Ross, 57, who said Jumaev moved in next door about five years ago. Ross said Jumaev was polite and said hello but otherwise kept to himself.

Ross said he assumed Jumaev was a Polish immigrant because the neighborhood is in Port Richmond's historically Polish enclave. But Jumaev might have encouraged people to think that.

After an earthquake struck Northeast Philadelphia last year, the residents were buzzing. Ross recalled Jumaev telling him, "That happens a lot in Poland."