After collecting a settlement check in the wake of the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, Mohamed Amin Ali Roble (20) is accused of using the resulting funds to finance his travel to the Middle East in order to fight on the side of the terrorist Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Federal officials
believe he is now fighting for the terroristic organization. He is believed to have used the settlement funds also pay for cars and weddings of his fellow terrorists.
Roble is one of 145 persons who were injured by the collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis that collapsed because of a design flaw. Thirteen people died.
Roble -- a Muslim of Somali origin -- made up a part of a group of Minneapolis residents who answered ISIS’ call to jihad. Currently, nine of the men who were caught and are awaiting sentencing on terrorism charges. His uncle, Abdi Nur, who successfully fled the US, was the only member of the group to be charged in absentia. Nur is believed to have been killed whilst fighting in Syria fighting for ISIS. Roble is thought to be alive.
When he was 18, Roble was given $91,654 paid by the state of Minnesota, a contractor and an engineering firm in 2014. Roble subsequently opened two bank accounts and applied for a passport. Lying about his travel plans, he claimed to be going only to China for studies.
In October 2014, Roble traveled with his mother to China. After stopping in Beijing, he went on to Wuhan. Another man associated with the case, Adnan Farah, had also claimed to have studies in mind. But before he could complete his travel to China, Farah’s family members became suspicious and confiscated his passport when it arrived at the family’s home.
In Roble’s case, he flew to Turkey in December 2014 and did not return, according to the FBI.
An FBI informant and co-conspirator testified that Roble had been waiting to receive the settlement money to make his move. After traveling to Istanbul, his checking account was used approximately 45 times in Gaziantep, a Turkish border town about 35 miles from Syria where many jihadis assemble before entering Syria. At Gaziantep, his purchases totaled more than $47,000.
One co-defendant in the trial said he saw Roble photographed in a desert environment and holding an automatic weapon and the flag of ISIS. He also testified that he saw Roble and his uncle Nur together in photographs. In Syria, Roble passed out money “like candy” to fellow terrorist jihadis in Syria and also purchased cars and paying for multiple weddings. Roble was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, for travel preparations and with providing material support to the terror group when he allegedly crossed into Syria. At least 11 Minnesota Muslims are known to joined or attempted to join ISIS. Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the country.