A husband and wife expecting to board a cargo ship in Newark on Wednesday to travel to the Middle East and fight for ISIS were arrested as they walked up a gangplank, authorities said.
James Bradley, 20, and Arwa Muthana, 29, were each charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S Attorney’s Office of for the Southern District of New York said in statement Thursday.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office couldn’t immediately for information about the exact location of the seaport in Newark where the arrest took place.
Bradley, of the Bronx, and Muthana, of Hoover, Alabama, had been in contact for months with two people they believed would help them get to the Middle East. Bradley suspected he was on the radar of the FBI and didn’t want to travel by commercial airplane, investigators said.
He didn’t know that his contacts were actually undercover law enforcement officers, though.
One of the agents drove the couple to a hotel in New Jersey on March 14, four days before both met with the agent, according to court papers.
The hotel isn’t named in charging documents.
Bradley met with the undercover in New Jersey on March 17 and again six days later to continue making plans for the trip and repeatedly sharing how he wanted to support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Bradley, who also went by the name “Abdullah,” paid the agent $1,000 at the March 23 meting for passage to the United Arab Emirates. From there, he and his wife planned to travel to Yemen.
Bradley met with an undercover agent again in New Jersey on March 25. The exact locations of the meetings weren’t mentioned in court papers.
One of the undercover agents dropped off Bradley and Muthana at the seaport on Wednesday, where they were taken into custody by the FBI. After being arrested Muthana, told investigators “she was willing to fight and kill Americans if it was for Allah,” documents state.
The two made a first appearance in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.
Bradley and Muthana married in an Islamic wedding ceremony in January, authorities said. Both had long expressed their previous support for ISIS, with Bradley frequently posting pro-ISIS messages on Instagram
Bradley had previously discussed attacking the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York or using his truck to kill ROTC students at an unnamed university in New York state, according to court papers.
The NYPD and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were among more than 50 agencies that coordinated on the investigation.
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