The FBI has made another arrest in its yearlong investigation into a rash of disappearances from the Somali community in Minnesota.
A 26-year-old medical technician from St. Paul was arrested on Friday and charged with making false statements to FBI officials. His arrest had been under seal until Tuesday, when he appeared in a St. Paul federal court. He was indicted Wednesday on the charges.
An FBI spokesman said that Abdow Abdow’s arrest was related to the ongoing investigation into the two dozen Somali youths who have left the United States and traveled to Somalia to join a militia there called al-Shabab.
The criminal complaint against Abdow says he lied about driving a handful of Somali-Americans from Minneapolis across the country on Oct. 6. One of the young men in the car had his passport and $4,000 in cash. Two other young men who were passengers in Abdow’s car tried to leave the United States through Mexico two days later.
When Abdow was asked about his fellow travelers, he denied they were in the car, the FBI says. When interviewed at work, Abdow allegedly told the FBI, “I’m talking too much.” Then, when he finally admitted having a handful of passengers in his car, he added, “Whatever those guys are into, I’m not.”
U.S. intelligence officials have been following the case out of concern that the Somalis leaving Minneapolis are being funneled to al-Shabab through what might be America’s first jihadi pipeline. Think of the potential pipeline as an underground railroad for jihadists — an intricate but informal network of militants who help their brothers in arms not only travel to terrorist training camps but also return home. The return trip to America is what worries U.S. intelligence. They envision a raft of young men training for jihad and slipping back into the U.S. to launch an attack.