Canadians get 20 years for recruiting Islamic State fighters
CITY OF SAN DIEGO –
A Canadian citizen living in Southern California was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the United States on Monday for helping at least half a dozen Canadians and Americans join the Islamic State group in Syria in 2013 and 2014 – including The first known American to die fighting for organized warriors.
Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi directly funded “violent acts of terrorism,” including kidnapping and murder in Syria, US Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement.
Abdullahi admitted in a plea agreement that he helped a San Diego resident, Douglas McAuthur McCain, join IS. McCain was killed in Syria fighting alongside IS fighters against Syrian opposition forces in 2014.
Prosecutors also said Abdullahi provided money to send an 18-year-old cousin from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to join IS fighters in Syria, as well as three other cousins from Edmonton, Canada.
According to the US government, all the men died in combat.
Abdullahi was arrested by Canadian authorities in 2017 and extradited to the US two years later. He pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists in 2021.
He also admitted to robbing a jewelry store in Edmonton in January 2014 to raise funds for foreign fighters. Weeks after committing that robbery, Abdullahi sent money to McCain so he could go to Syria.
McCain’s brother, Marchello McCain, was sentenced to 10 years in US federal prison in 2018 for making false statements in several interviews with federal agents between 2014 and 2015, including even denying knowing that his brother planned to fight for IS. He told the FBI that he thought his brother was going to Turkey to play music and teach English.
Earlier this month, the US announced it had killed three IS leaders in two separate operations, including a rare ground strike in a part of northeastern Syria under government control.
Despite defeat in Syria in 2019, when IS lost the last piece of land its fighters once controlled, the extremists’ cells continue to carry out deadly attacks in Syria and Iraq. ISIS fighters have held large swaths of land between the two countries.