Terrorist defendant expected to plead guilty Thursday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Rochester man accused of attempting to help ISIS is expected to plead guilty on Thursday in federal court in Rochester.

Mufid A. Elfgeeh was charged with attempting to help terrorist groups and attempting to kill members of the U.S. military. He was also charged with possessing illegal firearms equipped with silencers.

Elfgeeh is scheduled to appear in court Thursday at 10 a.m. in Rochester for a change of plea hearing, according to federal court records. He is expected to plead guilty, News 4 has learned. It could not be determined what charges he was expected to plead guilty to.

Elfgeeh is currently being held in custody. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Yemen who operated Halal Mojo and Food Mart in Rochester.

Elfgeeh, 30, is charged with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as attempted murder of current and former members of the United States military, possessing firearms equipped with silencers in furtherance of a crime of violence, and two counts of receipt and possession of unregistered firearm silencers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Elfgeeh tried to support ISIS by having three people join the group, but two were cooperating with the FBI. Elfgeeh intended to have all three travel to Syria to fight alongside ISIS, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say the Rochester man first discussed engaging in jihad with the two sources working with the FBI in late 2013 and on into early 2014. He allegedly took several steps to prepare them for the trip, including sending $600 to a person in Yemen to help them travel to Syria.

Elfgeeh is also accused of plotting to kill members of the U.S. military returning from Iraq. As part of the plot, he allegedly bought two handguns equipped with silencers. The FBI says the source Elfgeeh purchased the guns from disabled them before the sale.

He was taken into custody on May 31 when he allegedly took possession of the two handguns, which he worked to purchase through one of the two sources working with the FBI. He reportedly told that source he wanted to get a gun, put on a bulletproof vest and “just go around and start shooting.”

The material support charges each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, the firearms possession charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison, and the firearm silencer charges each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

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