Miami FBI probe snares foreign terrorism suspects accused of backing al-Qaida fighters overseas

A U.S. citizen and a foreign national charged with financing al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations fighting in overseas wars are being held in a Miami federal detention center.

Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed, 30, and Mohamed Hussein Said, 25, face an indictment charging them with conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to three U.S.-designated terrorist organizations that have operated in Iraq, Syria and Somalia, according to authorities.

The case is being prosecuted in Miami because some of the Western Union wire transfers sent by the defendants were transmitted to an FBI “online covert employee” based in Miami who was posing as an al-Qaida fundraiser, recruiter and supplier, according to an indictment.

The defendants, while based overseas in 2011-13, allegedly sent thousands of dollars via Western Union to an al-Qaida terrorist affiliate, al-Nusrah Front, which is fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. They also allegedly sent funds to al-Shabaab, another terrorist group seeking to overthrow the U.S.-backed transitional government in Somalia.

Both men, arrested overseas and brought back by FBI agents to South Florida, had their first federal court appearances Thursday. They are scheduled for a bond hearing Tuesday, when prosecutors Brian Frazier and Ricardo Del Toro will seek to detain them before trial.

Mohammed is a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in Saudi Arabia, and Said is a Kenyan national who resides in Nairobi and Mombasa.

A magistrate judge Thursday assigned a federal public defender and a private attorney to represent them at taxpayer expense.

The case, assigned to U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro, was investigated by the FBI’s South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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