A Virginia cab driver has pled guilty to helping his friend join ISIS back in January.
Mahmoud Elhassan, 26, drove Joseph Farrokh, 29, to a rest stop prior to his flight to Syria, before driving back to northern Virginia. Elhassan was arrested at a mall after Farrokh was arrested at the airport, and he was charged with attempting to help a terrorist group as well as giving false statements to the FBI. The pair was arrested after an FBI informant alerted authorities about Farrokh's plans to join ISIS.
Elhassan insists that he himself was not planning on traveling abroad and joining ISIS.
From the Washington Post:
Elhassan, 26, pleaded guilty Monday morning to attempting to help a terrorist group and giving false statements to the FBI. He admitted that he introduced Farrokh to the informant at Farrokh’s wedding last fall and spoke numerous times about ways to get to Syria. He also lied to investigators, claiming that his friend had flown out of Dulles International Airport to attend a funeral in California.
He may yet go to trial on a charge of conspiracy to provide material support. He says that he himself never tried to go abroad.
Farrokh was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison earlier this year. He was reportedly obsessed with the idea of being a martyr in Syria, and turned to Islam while recovering from an opioid addiction.
Five other people in Northern Virginia have been charged with attempting to aid or join ISIS.