Tarek Mehanna, Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorists

BOSTON—A Sudbury, Mass., man was charged today in federal court with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael K. Loucks and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Boston Field Division, announced today that Tarek Mehanna, 27, of 6 Fairhaven Circle, Sudbury, Mass., was charged in a complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

The complaint alleges that, beginning in or about 2001 and continuing until in or about May 2008, Mehanna conspired with Ahmad Abousamra, and others to provide material support and resources for use in carrying out a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country and extraterritorial homicide of a U.S. national.

Specifically, the complaint affidavit alleges that Mehanna and coconspirators discussed their desire to participate in violent jihad against American interests and that they would talk about fighting jihad and their desire to die on the battlefield. The complaint further alleges that the coconspirators attempted to radicalize others and inspire each other by, among other things, watching and distributing jihadi videos. It is alleged that, among other things, Mehanna and two of his associates traveled to the Middle East in February 2004, seeking military-type training at a terrorist training camp that would prepare them for armed jihad against U.S. interests, including U.S. and allied forces in Iraq. The complaint also alleges that one of Mehanna’s coconspirators made two similar trips to Pakistan in 2002.

According to the complaint affidavit, Mehanna and the coconspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders. It is alleged that the plan was ultimately abandoned, because of their inability to obtain the automatic weapons they deemed necessary to effectively carry out the attacks.

Mehanna was previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI in connection with a terrorism investigation.

If convicted on the material support charge, Mehanna faces up to 15 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) members: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs Border Protection, Massachusetts State Police and the Lowell Police Department, in addition to other members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The JTTF includes officers and agents from a number of other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Auerhahn and Aloke S. Chakravarty of Loucks’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.