The quiet neighborhood of Villa Park, Illinois became a hotbed of police activity when local authorities broke up a group that was raising money to support terrorist efforts overseas. Local authorities arrested Dilshod Khusanov for conspiring and attempting to provide support to ISIS and al-Nusrah Front, both foreign terrorist organizations. Khusanov will be arraigned later this week on charges tied to helping a small group or terror supporters to recruit and then transport new members of ISIS to the organization in Syria.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice:
“Khusanov is accused of allegedly conspiring to provide funding enabling multiple terrorists to attempt to travel to Syria to join groups like ISIS or al-Nusrah, according to the Department of Justice.
“Those who seek to fight for foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Nusrah Front cannot accomplish their goal without financial support,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde, said in a release. “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to identify and hold accountable individuals like the defendant who provide such financial support, as well as to eliminate such support.”
Khusanov was not able to do this alone, in fact, he worked as a part of a tight-knit support system that supported the terror groups abroad. Four members of the group that he worked with along with two people attempting to travel to Syria under the group’s sponsorship have been arrested.
Initially, Khusanov was not the target of the initial investigation. Abdurasul Juraboev, one of Khusanov’s co-conspirators, drew the attention of local authorities as he made multiple posts supporting terrorist activities on social media and websites. According to a report about the start of the investigation:
“…Juraboev posted on an Uzbek-language website that propagates ISIS’s ideology and offered to engage in an act of martyrdom on U.S. soil on behalf of ISIS, such as killing then-President Barack Obama. That investigation subsequently revealed that Juraboev and another co-conspirator, Akhror Saidakhmetov, planned to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of waging violent jihad on behalf of ISIS, the Department of Justice said.”
Saidakhmetov was also arrested in the United States. He was arrested on February 25, 2015, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. At the time of his arrest, he was a ticketed passenger on a flight to Syria. He was traveling to join the efforts of ISIS. Juraboev was also scheduled to make an international flight in March 2015 for a similar purpose.
When authorities stopped Saidakhmetov, an entire network of supporters unraveled. This included:
“Abror Habibov, Dilkhayot Kasimov, Azizjon Rakhmatov, and Akmal Zakirov were charged in the related case with funding Saidakhmetov’s efforts to join ISIS. Juraboev pleaded guilty on Aug. 14, 2015; Saidakhmetov pleaded guilty on Jan. 19, 2017; and Habibov pleaded guilty on Aug. 29, 2017 – all to charges of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.”
The case against Khusanov is also tied to that network of support. As a report about his current charges explains:
“…he allegedly helped to fund the efforts of Saidakhmetov and others to join ISIS or al-Nusrah Front. In particular, Khusanov and Zakirov discussed providing their own money to cover Saidakhmetov’s travel expenses, according to the Department of Justice. Khusanov also agreed to raise money from others to fund Saidakhmetov’s travel. In the week leading up to Saidakhmetov’s scheduled departure, Khusanov transferred money into Zakirov’s personal bank account, which funds were intended to facilitate Saidakhmetov’s travel to join ISIS.”
Khusanov is facing up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of financially supporting the efforts of partners to join groups like ISIS. He seems to be one of the last of the panel of this massive support network to be brought to justice. It is not clear how many other travelers the group was able to get out of the United States and into Syria.
Since the investigation is ongoing, it is also not clear where the funding was coming from. The initial reports do not mention the source of the funding except to tie it to the members of the support network. It is not usual for groups attempting to provide money to terror groups to be involved in others forms of crime.