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Two alleged ISIS recruits traveling to Mexico arrested in Texas

October 16, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Two alleged ISIS recruits traveling to Mexico arrested in Texas

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Two Wisconsin men who had plans to go to Syria or Iraq were arrested in San Angelo, Texas as they traveled en route to Mexico and charged with providing material support to ISIS.

Jason Michael Ludke, 35, of Wisconsin and Yosvany Padilla-Conde, 30, an illegal immigrant who was living in Wisconsin, were taken into custody on October 5th by Tom Green County Sheriff David Jones and a string of federal agents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Sheriff Jones said that he had received a tip from the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) that the two believed ISIS recruits were heading through the county on their way to Mexico. After surveilling the two suspects briefly, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, deputies, and FBI agents pulled the men over and arrested them.

Sheriff Green stated Ludke was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant in Wisconsin. His traveling companion, Padilla-Conde, having been identified as an illegal, was taken on immigration-related charges.

The Department of Justice’s Eastern District of Wisconsin revealed that the men were traveling to Mexico after pledging their devotion to the Islamic State. Their ultimate intention was to go to Iraq or Syria and train with the terrorist group.

Ludke got the attention of the FBI after he messaged an undercover agent on Facebook. First, he sent the agent a request, who was assigned to look into social media and find ISIS recruiting activities. Shortly after the friend request was sent, the agent started to message the suspect and learned of his plans. Ludke told the officer that he “wants to make “hijra” (or journey) away from “darul kufr” (Land of the Infidel).”

Ludke, who used the Muslim names Abuz Sayyaf, Muhammad Nassir, and Muhammad Abdun Naasir Al-Hannafi informed the undercover agent that he “pledged his allegiance to the leader of ISIL (ISIS) (the “Caliph”), Al-Baghdadi,” the criminal complaint indicates.

He also sent the agent a video showing him swearing allegiance to the Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

Believing that the agent was an ISIS recruiter in Syria, Ludke said that he was making arrangements to go “there.” He acknowledged that he had a criminal record and told him that he would have to go first to Mexico to purchase travel documents.

According to court records, Ludke was found guilty back in 2010 on charges of threatening to murder a federal judge. He sent a succession of threatening messages to the Court of Federal District Judge William Griesbach. The fourth note, for which he pleaded guilty, read:

“Allow me to willfully leave to go to Istanbul, Turkey or 1will have no choice but to hunt you down and kill you and your staff! If you do not have me immediately transferred out of this facility or released, I will be contacting my brothers of the Islamic al-Shabab and there will be blood on your hands and your kuffar government due to random acts of violence to your unresponsiveness.”

The letter added: “Imagine federal courthouses filled with infidel Americans being victim to liquefied forms of Semtex bonded to a paper much with nitrous pellets from fertilizer surrounded by C-4 with ball bearings for added destruction! ….this is not an idle threat U.S. Judge Griesbach.”

“If you do not pay heed to my call and bargain, bear witness that I will do everything in my power to kill you Judge Griesbach, and your kuffar regime!”

The crazed man was introduced to Padilla-Conde, who was going by the name AbuZaid Haddaf, by the FBI.

The two men continued their communications with the agent as they moved from Wisconsin to Texas.

Padilla-Conde had previously informed the agent that he was struggling to earn a living by working cash positions and that they were about to be expelled from their residence.

He later confessed that he was not going to join ISIS and was only using Ludke to make the journey back to Mexico. He told authorities that he planned to leave Ludke once they got across the border.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin stated that the two men were charged with providing material support to ISIS, a terrorist organization. If they are found guilty, each faces up to 20 years behind bars and may be ordered to pay a penalty of up to $250,000.

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