Samuel Rahamin Topaz, a 21-year-old resident of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who was arrested Wednesday, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State group on Thursday. This is the fourth arrest linked to ISIS in recent weeks in the tri-state area.
“Material support of a terrorist organization is a violation of federal law,” FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Richard Frankel said, in a statement released Thursday. “Topaz conspired to provide services and personnel to ISIL [ISIS]. Topaz discussed his desire to travel to Syria to join ISIL. Fortunately, this threat did not materialize.”
Topaz’s arrest came just a day after federal prosecutors charged another man -- Fareed Mumuni -- with attempting to stab a FBI special agent who was executing a search warrant at his Staten Island home. Mumuni was reportedly linked to Topaz through a common associate, 20-year-old Munther Omar Saleh -- a college student in Queens, New York -- who was arrested on Saturday along with an unnamed co-conspirator.
Mumuni was allegedly plotting to detonate an explosive device in New York, according to media reports. It is not yet clear if Topaz was a part of this plot, and the charges against Topaz do not mention whether he planned to carry out an attack on U.S. soil.
According to the FBI statement, Topaz had exchanged dozens of messages with co-conspirators, discussing plans to travel to Syria and Iraq. In a Facebook post, dated April 25, Topaz said that he was deleting all his social media accounts “until I leave the country.” He, however, did not specify which country he was planning to travel to and why he wanted to leave.
Topaz is now being held without bail after appearing in Federal District Court in Newark, New Jersey. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.