Two Virginia men face terror-related charges in alleged Syria travel plot

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By Michael Pearson

CNN

(CNN) — Federal authorities have charged two Virginia men with terror-related offenses after one tried to travel to Syria to join ISIS, the Justice Department said Saturday.

Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS. Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, is accused of aiding and abetting Farrokh’s efforts.

According to prosecutors, Farrokh has been trying to join ISIS since at least November. He met with someone Elhassan “believed maintained connections to individuals engaged in jihad overseas,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

On Friday, Elhassan drove Farrokh to Richmond, Virginia, where Farrokh went to the airport and cleared security in a bid to board a Chicago-bound flight, prosecutors said. From there, authorities say, he planned to fly to Jordan and eventually travel to Syria to join ISIS.

Authorities arrested Farrokh at the airport. Elhassan was arrested after returning to Woodbridge, Virginia, where the two live.

If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in prison. They are scheduled to make their initial court appearance on Tuesday.

The FBI estimated in October that approximately 250 U.S. residents have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight in the civil war raging there.

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