By Lenore Fedow
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
San Diego—Canadian national Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi was recently extradited to the United States, accused of robbing a jewelry store in Edmonton, Alberta to fund Islamic State fighters in Syria.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, Abdullahi and two accomplices robbed a jewelry store—identified in local media as VJ Jewellery—in January 2014 and used the money to finance the travel of Douglas McCain, the first known American who died fighting for the Islamic State, and others to Syria.

Approximately $3,100 was wired to Douglas, who traveled with a second person to Turkey and, later, to Syria where the two engaged in terrorist activities, authorities said.

Abdullahi sent an email to his co-conspirator a month after the robbery, explaining that he was having trouble pawning the jewelry, which caused a delay in sending the money, according to court documents.

This is the first case the Jewelers’ Security Alliance is aware of that involves proceeds from the robbery of a jewelry store in North America being used to fund terrorism, JSA President John J. Kennedy said in an email to National Jeweler Monday, although there have been cases in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

“The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been aware for many years, at least since 9/11, that criminal acts to supply money for terrorist goals was possible,” he wrote.

The indictment alleges Abdullahi, a former San Diego resident, facilitated the travel of at least three Canadian nationals and two U.S. citizens—including McCain—to Syria to join and fight for ISIS, all of whom were reportedly killed.

Abdullahi, among others, also wired money to third-party intermediaries in Gaziantep, Turkey, located about 40 miles from the Syrian border, to support ISIS fighters believed to have engaged in terrorist activity, including the killing, kidnapping and maiming of persons, as per the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Terrorist networks like ISIS cannot exist without supporters,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in the press release announcing Abdullahi’s extradition.

“Protecting Americans from terrorists is our highest priority, and we will work hard to bring justice to those who provide material support to foreign terror organizations.”

In March 2017, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California charged Abdullahi with conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to terrorists.

He was arrested by Canadian authorities in September 2017, following an extradition request from the U.S., and was held in Canadian custody without bail before being surrendered to the U.S. last month.

The two charges each have a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

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