Sheriff: ISIS Recruits Arrested North of San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX - Tom Green County Sheriff David Jones confirmed Friday evening that his office, along with Texas DPS and the FBI, arrested two suspected for providing material support for ISIS. He said his agency was warned to be on the lookout for the duo by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
Jones stated that after a short time of surveillance of the duo, multiple agencies stopped and detained them as they traveled along a stretch of U.S. 87 in northern Tom Green County. The arrests happened Oct. 5. Jones said he didn’t release the information immediately pending the announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Kanter in the Wisconsin office will prosecute the case.
Arrested were Jason Michael Ludke, 35, of Milwaukee. He was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, ISIS. His running partner was Yosvany Padilla-Conde, 30, an illegal alien living in Milwaukee. He was charged with aiding and abetting Ludke. Both face 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 each.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by San Angelo LIVE!, Padilla-Conde is also known as Saadiq Ibn Abbas and Saadiq Padilla. Ludke is also known as Muhammad Nassir, Muhammad Abdun Naasir Al-Hannafi and Abuz Sayyaf.
Both Padilla-Conde and Ludke were known to the JTTF as having stated their intent to travel overseas to join ISIS. An undercover FBI agent operating in the circles where ISIS was recruiting Americans on social media received a friend request over Facebook from Ludke. Thereafter, the two engaged in an Instant Messenger conversation. Ludke told the undercover agent that he is from the U.S. and wants to make “hijra” (or migration) away from “darul kufr” (Land of the Infidel).
In a later conversation, Ludke stated he was making plans to come “there,” but, because he has a criminal history, he was traveling to Mexico first. Ludke said he had family in Mexico where he will be able to purchase papers. Ludke volunteered his email address to the undercover agent and sent him two pictures of himself.
By the end of September, Ludke asked for a voice call with the agent who was posing as a recruiter for ISIS. During the voice conversation, Ludke said he was trying to recruit a “brother” to go with him. He said his “brother” converted to Islam in 2003. Ludke also detailed his plans to use his brother-in-law in Mexico to help him get from the U.S. and into Mexico.
Ludke’s planned destination was Raqqah, Syria, and then he had plans to travel to Mosul, Iraq, the U.S. Attorney’s complaint states.
The undercover agent stated that Ludke “pledged his allegiance to the leader if ISIL (ISIS) (the purported “Caliph”), Al-Baghdadi, and stated his desire to live under Sharia. He also rejected tyranny and “Kuffar (infidels), and stated that he believes in Al-Wala’wa Al Bara’, or “love Muslims and hate infidels for Allah’s sake. He stated he was ready to join the hijrah, or migration, to join ISIS because he knows ISIS are on the path of Haq (truth).
Ludke stated he was tired of the infidel’s system in America and wanted to learn the deen (religion) and strive for Jannah (paradise).
Later that day, Ludke sent a video of himself where he pledged allegiance to Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
In early October, Ludke introduced the FBI agent to his traveling partner, Padilla-Cone, who by this time was going by the name AbuZaid Haddaf. Padilla-Cone sent a similar video via email to the FBI agent pledging his allegiance to Al-Baghdadi.
By Oct. 4, the duo left Wisconsin for their trek to Mexico and informed the undercover FBI agent of their progress along the way. On Oct. 5, Ludke, via email, informed the FBI he was traveling through Texas on the way to El Paso where his brother-in-law, who the FBI states is a Palestinian Muslim, advised him to cross.
The duo also bragged to the undercover agent about their practice in martial arts, computers, and that his traveling partner had firearms training from his time in the military in Cuba.
After this last email communication, the duo was spotted north of San Angelo on U.S. 87. Both were arrested by the sheriff with assistance from the Texas DPS and FBI. Ludke was arrested for an outstanding warrant in Milwaukee. Padilla-Conde was held on immigration-related issues.
In the interview with the FBI after their arrest, Ludke stated that he and Padilla-Conde were unable to pay their rent in Wisconsin and Ludke feared being sent back to jail. Padilla-Conde feared deportation. While traveling through Texas, the duo told the FBI they made a wide range of plans, including going to Yemen. Ludke told agents he was an avid watcher of Internet videos featuring Anwar Awlaki and other Sufi lectures.
Padilla-Conde told the FBI that he was having difficulties making a living working for cash and was about to be evicted. He stated that he asked for and received permission to park in area mosque parking lots in their vehicle along their way to Texas. Padilla-Conde stated that he wasn’t serious about traveling overseas or joining ISIS and attempted to talk Ludke out of it. He said his intentions were to ditch Ludke once he helped him get across the Texas-Mexico border.
Sheriff Jones said the arrest was all in a day’s work, and his office was committed to keeping his county safe. Jones was quick to give credit to the FBI for their coordination with his agency, and for finding this duo before they became threats to the U.S. and citizens.
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