The Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the FBI, Richard DesLauriers, announced Wednesday the FBI is seeking the public's assistance to locate a wanted terrorist, Ahmad Abousamra, a U.S. citizen from Mansfield, MA, who left the United States in 2006.
He may be living in Aleppo, Syria, with his wife, at least one child, a daughter and extended family.
A reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
He was first indicted in 2009 after taking multiple trips to Pakistan and Yemen, where he allegedly attempted to obtain military training for the purpose of killing American soldiers overseas. He also traveled to Iraq with the hope of joining forces fighting against the United States. The exact nature of his activities in Iraq is unknown.
On Nov. 5, 2009, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Abousamra after he was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, conspiracy, false statements, and aiding and abetting.
In 2010, he and his co-conspirator were charged in a superseding indictment, with an additional single count each of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely al Qaeda. In total, Abousamra was indicted on nine charges.
In 2011 Abousamra's co-conspirator, Tarek Mehanna, was convicted by a federal jury on four terrorism charges and three charges related to providing false information to the government. In April of 2012, Mehanna was sentenced to 17-and-a-half years in prison.
"Conspiring to use force or violence to achieve a political or social goal violates our cherished ideal of peaceful dissent. Our goal is to find and arrest Abousamra so he can be tried by a jury of his peers," said DesLauriers. "We believe publicizing Abousamra's photo and characteristics will lead to a tip about his whereabouts and, ultimately, to his arrest."
Abousamra is of Syrian descent and has dual citizenship in the United States and Syria. He was born in France on September 19, 1981, and is currently 31 years old.
He is 5'11" and at the time of his disappearance weighed approximately 170 pounds, had a slim build, dark brown hair and brown eyes. He speaks, reads and writes fluently in English and Arabic. He has a college degree related to computer technology and was previously employed at a telecommunications company.
His known aliases include Ahmad Abou-Samra, Ahmad Abou, Ahmad Abou Samira, Ahmad Samra, Ahmad Abu Samra, and Ahmad Abou Samra.
"Since one of the FBI's earliest terrorism investigations, the 1920 anarchist bombing that killed more than 30 people on Wall Street, the FBI has known that combining the reach and power of the media with alert citizens is a successful formula for identifying suspects and catching fugitives," said DesLauriers. "Knowing that the public is the FBI's best ally in finding fugitives, we're requesting their assistance to locate Ahmad Abousamra."
Wednesday's announcement is part of a comprehensive publicity campaign using traditional media and the use of the FBI's 673,000 Facebook and Twitter social media followers to generate tips from the public. The FBI will also use limited advertising on a social media site to reach an overseas demographic.
For more information regarding othe search for Ahmad Abousamra or to download the "Wanted" poster, radio podcast, audio clip and video, go to FBI.gov/Boston and click "Top Story."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL- FBI or 617-742-5533, via the internet at https://tips.fbi.gov or by calling their local FBI office or nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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