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Former Elkhart resident accused of supporting ISIS

August 23, 2018

A former Elkhart resident has been charged in federal court with providing and conspiring to provide material support to foreign terror organization the Islamic State or Iraq and al-Sham.

An indictment filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana alleges two counts against 32-year-old Samantha Elhassani, a United States national also known as Samantha Sally.

Count 1 alleges Elhassani, together with two unnamed people, “knowingly conspired to provide material support and resources” to ISIS in the form of personnel, funds and tactical gear from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015. Count 2 alleges that from March 23, 2015 to April 7, 2015, she aided and abetted the two unnamed people “in providing themselves as personnel to ISIS, including by procuring tactical gear and funds for their use in fighting for ISIS… .”

The grand jury indictment was announced Thursday by the FBI’s Indianapolis Division, which investigated Elhassani’s case with the Merrillville Resident Agency and the Indianapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force. The office of Northern Indiana U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II is prosecuting the case.

“My office is committed to aggressively pursuing and prosecuting those who support designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS,” Kirsch said in a Thursday statement. “… The seriousness of the charges reflect the gravity of Elhassani’s alleged conduct.”

“The charges against Ms. Elhassani illustrate that actions of providing support to ISIS have serious consequences, and should serve as a reminder to American citizens that providing assistance to terrorist organizations or individuals aligned with terrorist entities will not be tolerated,” Grant Mendenhall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division, said in a statement.

Elhassani’s indictment came during the same week Indiana Northern District Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen sentenced Marlonn Hicks of Crown Point to 15 years in prison for terror-related activities. Hicks pleaded guilty in 2016 to distributing information regarding the manufacture and use of explosive devices, with the intent that the information would be used to further a violent crime. 

If convicted, Elhassani faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count.

 

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