Minnesota man pleads guilty to trying to support ISIS

Story highlights

  • Abdullahi Yusuf pleads guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization
  • He faces up to 15 years in prison

(CNN)A Minnesota man who authorities say tried to fly to Turkey with the intent of joining terror group ISIS in Syria pleaded guilty Thursday in a federal court in Minneapolis.

Abdullahi Yusuf, an 18-year-old Somali-American, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
After the plea, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis allowed Yusuf to await sentencing at a halfway house, where Yusuf was ordered to stay earlier this year while the case against him proceeded. Sentencing wasn't immediately scheduled.
    Authorities said Yusuf, of the Minneapolis suburb of Inver Grove Heights, came under investigation after he applied last April for an expedited passport for a trip to Turkey. The FBI pursued a report from a worker at a Minneapolis passport office, who became suspicious of Yusuf's intentions during an interview about his application, court documents say.
    According to investigators, Yusuf, a community college student at the time, had no firm travel plans, only a vague explanation of where he would get the roughly $1,500 for a plane ticket, and displayed suspicious behaviors as the application interview continued.
    The FBI was called in because "the passport specialist found his interaction with (Yusuf) so unusual," investigators said in an affidavit.
    Yusuf obtained a passport and bought a plane ticket to Turkey, but the FBI prevented him from boarding the flight after he arrived at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, authorities said. Yusuf was charged in November.