Mar 272011
 
sentencing

A lucrative and active human smuggling ring brought an undetermined number of potential Somali jihadists into the United States through Brazil, federal prosecutors say in court papers.

Those prosecutors are asking a federal judge in San Antonio to give the maximum sentence to a Somali man who pleaded guilty in November to two counts of making false statements on a 2008 asylum application. Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane failed to report his connections to Al-Ittihad Al-Islami (AIAI) and al-Barakat, both specially designated terrorist organizations.

When he is sentenced April 28, prosecutors want U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez to factor in a series of related and disturbing actions spelled out in this memorandum, including the human smuggling of potential terrorists. They intend to call several law enforcement witnesses and three people Dhakane smuggled into the country.

The smuggling was run through Brazil, aided by bribes paid to immigration authorities there, from June 2006 through March 2008. Dhakane instructed those he smuggled on how to make false asylum claims.

The sentencing memo was first reported by Patrick Poole.

In it, prosecutors say that a confidential informant will testify that Dhakane openly talked about being a member of the AIAI. Dhakane sees that group and other designated Somali terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab and the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) as one entity because of overlapping membership. The only distinction, he said, was between “supporters or fighters,” but “all of these individuals are ready to fight and die for the cause.”

Some of the people Dhakane smuggled into the United States were AIAI members. “Dhakane stated he did not know their exact reason for wanting to enter the United States, but cautioned that he believed they would fight against the US if the jihad moved from overseas locations to the US mainland,” the memo said.

Dhakane “bragged on tape to the [informant] that he made as much as $75,000 in one day by smuggling Somalis. On tape, Dhakane stated his minimum charge for smuggling individuals was $3,000 per person,” prosecutors wrote.

Dhakane smuggled in people he knew were violent jihadists “with the full knowledge that if the decision was made by the [terrorist group], for which he was associated with in the past, to commit terrorist acts in the United States, these jihadists would commit violent acts in and against the United States,” they added.

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