Two Men Arrested in Virginia for Alleged Plans to Aid Islamic State

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf petro-powerhouses encouraged a flow of cash to Sunni rebels in Syria for years. But …
AP Photo/Militant Website, File

Two Muslim men, one a legal immigrant from Sudan and one born in Pennsylvania, have been arrested in Virginia and accused of attempting to become involved with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terror group.

Police arrested Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, a Pennsylvania-born Muslim, at Richmond’s airport on Friday. Prosecutors say he was making plans to join ISIS and intended to make his way to Syria.

The second man, Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 25, was accused of helping Farrokh complete his journey. Elhassan is a permanent resident who immigrated from Sudan. Both men are living in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Farrokh was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Elhassan was charged with aiding Farrokh. The pair are scheduled to appear in court this week and could face 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say that Farrokh asked an FBI informant to help him reach ISIS-held territory and even mentioned he wanted to die a martyr. Documents also charge that Farrokh swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS and tried to make plans for his wife and children to join him once he reached Syria.

Court documents also say that Farrokh planned to pre-pay for a roundtrip ticket and a hotel room in Jordan to throw suspicion off his travel to the Middle East.

For his part, Elhassan is charged with driving Farrokh to a taxi waiting about a mile from the airport in Richmond, which then transported Farrokh the rest of the way to the airport. Elhassan also allegedly counseled Farrokh to be careful and to avoid detection.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at