Charges of providing material support to the terror group al-Shabaab have been filed against a Somali-American man who was arrested Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, 26, had an initial court appearance before a federal judge in Ohio and will be transported to Minneapolis, where the charges were brought against him. Mahamud is a U.S. citizen and had been living in the Minneapolis area until February of this year when he moved to Ohio, according to a Justice Department official.
According to an indictment, Mahamud provided "financial support and personnel" to terrorists on at least two occasions in 2009. He is also charged with conspiring to provide material support for terrorism. The legal documents do not provide specifics about his alleged actions. If convicted on all counts, Mahamud could receive a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.
U.S. officials said in recent years approximately 20 young men have traveled from the Minneapolis area to Somalia to train with al-Shabaab and a number of them have gone on to fight with the terrorist organization. For three years, federal officials have been investigating how these young men are being recruited.
The Justice Department said so far 18 people have been indicted on criminal charges relating to the investigation. Five people have pleaded guilty and other cases are still proceeding. Eight defendants have not been arrested and are believed to be overseas. U.S. officials said two other defendants are believed to have died in Somalia.