Federal authorities are charging 20-year-old Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, a Minneapolis man, with joining the Islamic State after they say he used settlement money from a bridge collapsing suit to travel to Syria.
Roble is the 11th Twin Cities man charged with joining ISIS, according to the Star Tribune.
Roble funded his trip to Syria, authorities say, through $91,654 in settlement money he received as one of 145 survivors of the I-35 bridge collapse in 2007 when he was 10 years old. In 2014, after receiving the money as an 18-year-old, Roble left for Syria.
Here is what you need to know about Roble:
1. The FBI Says Roble Handed Out Money ‘Like It’s Candy’
In a 17-page affidavit, FBI Special Agent Daniel Higgins claims Robles violated the law by “providing, and conspiring to provide, material support, specifically personnel and resources, to the Islamic State and the Levant…” The Justice Department is charging him as such.
Higgins claims Roble used personal money to pay for others’ marriages, electronics and vehicles for ISIS.
A conversation between a government informant and one of Roble’s co-conspirators said Roble “just bottomed out. Passing out money like it’s candy.”
2. Roble Got His Money from the State of Minnesota, a Contractor & a Design Firm in a Settlement
Roble received more than $90,000 through a lawsuit filed by his parents. As a survivor of an interstate bridge that collapsed over the Mississippi River in August 2007, Roble won $65,431 from the state of Minnesota’s structured settlement annuity, $11,167 from a contractor who worked on the bridge and $15,056 from a consulting firm that had worked on the bridge, the FBI states.
Roble turned 18 in 2014, and subsequently setup two bank accounts for the settlement money he began receiving.
3. Roble Is Still Alive & Living in Syria, Authorities Say
After using his money to travel to places like China and Turkey, Roble traveled to Istanbul on Dec. 27, 2014. Once in Turkey, the FBI believes he crossed into Syria.
Higgins said Robles is still believed to be alive and living in Syria.
In interviews with the FBI, Robles’ co-conspirators said they have seen him in photos on social media in a desert setting and carrying a black ISIS flag. “In others,” the Justice Department’s document states, “he is carrying what appears to be an assault rifle.
4. Roble Is the 11th Twin Cities Man to Be Charged With Joining ISIS
Roble isn’t the first man from the Minneapolis area charged with associating with ISIS. In fact, he’s far from it: 10 others have been charged before Roble as part of the federal government’s investigation into ISIS recruitment in the Twin Cities’ Somali-American community, according to the Star Tribune.
Minnesota leads the U.S. in the number of people who have joined — or attempted to join — the terrorist organization, a recent Congressional report found.
So far, three Somali-Americans have been found guilty by a jury for conspiring with ISIS, the Star Tribune reports.
5. Terror Recruiting Has Had a ‘Significant Impact on Minnesota,’ Feds Say
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce, which assisted with tracking down Roble and his co-conspirators, said terror recruiting has had a “significant impact on Minnesota,” which is why it is working to “interrupt terror recruiting activity and to prosecute those who provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
The government claims ISIS turned toward Minnesota in 2013, including people like Roble.
“Between 2009 and 2011, at least 20 individuals were indicted for crimes related to al-Shabaab. Ten of those individuals either pleaded guilty or were convicted after a jury trial,” the Justice Department states.