Pizza-Shop Owner in Rochester Admits He Was an ISIS Recruiter

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Mufid Elfgeeh, a 31-year-old pizza-shop owner in Rochester, New York, pleaded guilty to charges involving his attempts to recruit two people — including an FBI informant — to join ISIS. He was arrested in May 2014 while meeting his two potential recruits in a Walmart parking lot to pick up two handguns he asked the informant to buy. Elfgeeh, a naturalized citizen from Yemen, will be sentenced on March 17; he could face up to 30 years in prison. The federal case against Elfgeeh, who also admitted that he was committing acts of terrorism, was made much easier by the fact that he did some of his work on social media.

His uncle, Abad Elfgeeh, was arrested in Brooklyn more than a decade ago for his connections to terrorism. He owned an ice-cream shop in Park Slope.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, another case involving ISIS appeared today when 19-year-old Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz was charged with helping the extremist group. According to a statement from Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin, “A prior physical search of Aziz’s residence also revealed a tactical-style backpack in his closet, which contained high-capacity weapons magazines, ammunition, a knife, and other survival items.” 

Aziz allegedly used at least 57 different Twitter accounts to spread ISIS propaganda, help those relocating to the Middle East to join ISIS, and talk about violent actions against the United States. One tweet, according to the complaint, said, “#IS Know O Obama, that we are coming to American and know that we will sever your head in the White House.” The complain adds that the tweet “included a picture of a masked militant about to behead an unknown soldier.”

He was scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Thursday.