Rochester Medical Researcher Faces Terrorism Charge
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Pakistani physician who had apparently been working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester as a researcher is facing a federal terrorism-related charge.
The US Attorney for Minnesota says 28-year-old Muhammad Masood was arraigned in federal court on Thursday on a charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He was arrested earlier in the day at the Twin Cities airport preparing to board a flight to Los Angeles.
According to the charges, Masood was employed as a Research Coordinator in Rochester under an H-1B visa. Between January and this month, he allegedly made several statements the others pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State group and its leader. Prosecutors say he also expressed a desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS and to conduct "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in the United States.
It is further alleged that late last month Masood purchased a plane ticket for a flight from Chicago to Amman, Jordan and then planned to travel to Syria but had to change his plans because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prosecutors say Masood then made new plans to fly from Minnesota to Los Angeles to meet up with a person he believed would help him make the journey to ISIS territory in a cargo ship.
A federal magistrate ordered Masood to remain in custody until a formal detention hearing that has been scheduled on March 24th.