FORT LEE, N.J. -- A 21-year-old Fort Lee man who formerly sang in an alternative rock band from Englewood admitted in federal court in Newark today that he conspired to support foreign terrorism in Iraq.
Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiring with a group of co-defendants to provide services and personnel to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
He said he saved money so he could afford an overseas trip to join ISIL.
“The crimes Samuel Topaz admitted today threatened the safety of Americans here and abroad,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
“Our efforts to cut off the flow of fighters and resources to known terrorist organizations will not stop with his guilty plea," he added. "We have charges pending against his conspirators and remain vigilant against these terrorist operations.”
Federal agents seized Samuel Rahamin Topaz at his home in June and quickly followed with the arrests of three alleged co-conspirators -- Nader Saadeh, Alaa Saadeh, and Munther Omar Saleh -- who they said planned to travel to Syria to join the foreign terrorist organization.
The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) also arrested an unnamed cooperator from Queens in mid-June.
All "watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam," Fishman said Topaz admitted.
The co-conspirators remained in federal custody today, as did Topaz.
The Saadehs have each been charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, among other offenses. Munther Omar Saleh was indicted on terrorism-related charges in the U.S. Eastern District of New York.
The State Department uses ISIL to refer to the group — versus ISIS, which is used by most media outlets — which a year ago took over Mosul and large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq despite the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve’s attempts to defeat it.
Fishman credited the FBI and the JTTF with the investigation leading to today’s plea.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.