Minnesota man pleads guilty to trying to support ISIS

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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.

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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.

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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.

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