CHICAGO — A 31-year-old truck driver was arrested Thursday at his suburban Chicago home on federal terrorism charges filed in New York. He is accused of being part of a U.S. network that raised money for would-be terrorists to travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants and another designated terrorist group, the al-Nusrah Front.
Dilshod Khusanov, who is married and originally from Uzbekistan, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Chicago hours after his 6 a.m. arrest at his Villa Park home. He stood before the judge in a red-checkered shirt and with his ankles shackled above red tennis shoes. Several relatives looked on from courtroom benches.
When the U.S. Magistrate Judge M. David Weisman asked if he understood the process by which he would likely be sent to Brooklyn, New York, to answer the charges, Khusanov responded: "I don't understand what this means. ... Can you explain in more detail?" The judge then did explain further.
In a two-count indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Khusanov is charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to foreign terrorists and one count of attempting to provide material support to foreign terrorists. Each count carries a maximum 15-year prison term.
Court papers supporting his detention argue Khusanov poses a danger to the community and is a risk to flee the United States, including because he is a citizen of Uzbekistan and still has family in the Central Asian nation. Judge Weisman scheduled another hearing in Chicago for Sept. 7.
Filings link Khusanov to four others indicted in New York previously for being part of the same network, as well to two others who aspired to go to Syria. One, Abdurasul Juraboev, pleaded guilty in 2015. He allegedly threatened attacks in the U.S., mentioning killing the president or possibly setting off a bomb at Coney Island.
Khusanov did not enter a plea Thursday and his federal defender, Jushua Kutnick, asked for more time to discuss the case with his client. The attorney declined to comment to reporters following the hearing.