Alleged ISIS sympathizers swapped terrorist propaganda in a New York jail, prosecutors say. They contend Bronx man Sajmir Alimehmeti’s alleged consumption and distribution of ISIS propaganda in jail will demonstrate how deeply his support for the group runs.
The samizdat ring was revealed last week, after prosecutors say staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan found out Alimehmeti has “participated in the receipt and dissemination of terrorist propaganda materials within the MCC,” according to court filings.
Inmates at the MCC get access to materials prosecutors intend to use at trial on hard drives stored at the prison library. Prosecutors allege that information produced to Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi found its way to Alimehmeti. And information produced to help Alimehmeti prepare for trial landed in the hands of yet another inmate, in an underground jihadi propaganda circulation ring.
“Such evidence of Alimehmeti’s possession and dissemination of terrorist propaganda materials at the MCC is highly probative of, among other things, Alimehmeti’s motive and intent in committing the charged terrorism crimes,” prosecutors charge.
In lengthy filings supporting a superseding indictment, prosecutors said that Alimehmeti began planning a “lone wolf-style” attack in 2015. The FBI used two undercover agents to approach Alimehmeti, and he allegedly confided in them that while he claimed to have lost his passport, he actually hadn’t actually done so: It was an elaborate ruse to get a passport without rejection stamps that would allow him to travel more discreetly. Alimehmeti had twice been denied entry into the United Kingdom, according to court filings.
The FBI then introduced a series of other agents, who spoke to Alimehmeti about ISIS and pretended to travel to join the terror group. He was arrested in May 2016 and charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist group and making false statements on a passport application.
Alimehmeti has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
Inmates at the MCC are provided with drives to store their legal materials, and lock combinations that make them accessible only to those inmates.
“Based on the FBI’s ongoing review of the Drive, it appears that since the Drive was originally produced by the Government to Alimehmeti in summer 2016, discovery materials have been deleted from the Drive, terrorist propaganda materials have been added to the Drive, and the Drive now consists largely or entirely of terrorist propaganda materials,” prosecutors allege.
Alimehmeti’s new drive additions included issues of ISIS magazines that lauded Rahimi’s actions, which were produced after Alimehmeti was arrested.
The videos are a “powerful evidence of Alimehmeti’s dedication to terrorist ideology,” prosecutors added.