Virginia Man Arrested For Allegedly Supporting ISIS
A Virginia man who came to the U.S. from India, 33-year-old Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa, allegedly gave financial support to female members of ISIS was arrested this week by the FBI.
According to a cell phone video recorded by a neighbor, FBI and Fairfax County police blocked off the road to his neighborhood in Springfield for hours. The video showed an agent who could be heard yelling repeatedly, “Hands behind your back!”
Chhipa was arrested on charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS through digital currency transactions.
Officials confirmed the federal investigation into the payments began in August 2021. The transactions were allegedly carried out between then and Jan. 2022.
Court documents revealed that the suspect had numerous conversations with undercover federal agents concerning violent attacks.
Documents show Chhipa acquired over $172,000 in digital currency from Nov. 2019 to July 2022. He was also the recipient of another $15,000 in virtual currency from other persons.
More than $18,000 of that total was sent to digital wallets accessed by female ISIS members in a Syrian refugee camp, according to records.
The FBI also reported that $61,000 of the cryptocurrency was sent to Bitcoin wallets in Turkey and there is over $60,000 that has not been accounted for.
According to the bureau, in May 2020 Chhipa had a conversation with an undercover agent in which he was asked if he approved of his funds directly supporting the restoration of the caliphate. He agreed.
At another point, FBI documents revealed that an undercover agent asked if it was OK if women who used the money to escape the camp would rejoin ISIS. The evidence said Chhipa responded by asking, “if they are free again…where else would they go?”
According to the search warrant, the virtual currency that he sent was converted into cash before being disbursed to the ISIS recipients.
The bureau said that during the course of its investigation it found that Chhipa’s social media accounts and other related materials revealed his alignment with ISIS. He also frequented websites and platforms dedicated to jihad and radical Islam.
The Virginia man faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges.