A Rochester man of Pakistan origin was sentenced on August 25 to more than 18 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Department of Justice announced.
According to court documents, Muhammad Masood, 31, a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan, was formerly employed as a research coordinator at a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, under an H-1B visa.
“Between January 2020 and March 2020, Masood used an encrypted messaging application to facilitate his travel overseas to join a terrorist organization,” the DOJ said in a statement, adding that Masood made multiple statements about his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), and he pledged his allegiance to the designated terrorist organization and its leader. Masood also expressed his desire to conduct “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in the United States. On Feb. 21, 2020, Masood purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois, to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria.
“On March 16, 2020, Masood’s travel plans changed because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Masood then agreed to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel via cargo ship to deliver him to ISIS territory,” the DOJ said.
“On March 19, 2020, Masood traveled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles, California. Upon arrival at MSP, Masood checked in for his flight and was subsequently arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force,” added the DOJ.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case.
Masood pleaded guilty on Aug. 16, 2022, to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Masood was sentenced before Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson.