A young Minnesota man known as the "emir" of a group accused of plotting to join Islamic State militants in Syria pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, federal prosecutors said.
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was the 10th Minnesota man charged in an investigation into recruiting and support for the militant group among the Minneapolis-St. Paul Somali community.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said Islamic State recruiting in Minnesota was a problem and that guilty pleas were one way to help stop the recruiting pipeline.
"(Warsame) has now taken the first step to help himself begin the process of rehabilitation and help our entire community begin to heal," Luger said.
Prosecutors said Warsame and his co-conspirators discussed means of funding travel to Syria and the routes from Minnesota to Syria that would best elude law enforcement.
During a May 2014 meeting between Warsame and others in his group, he accepted the position of "emir," or leader, prosecutors said.
So far, four men have pleaded guilty, five are scheduled to go to trial in May and one is believed to be with Islamic State militants in Syria, said Ben Petok, a spokesman for Luger.
Warsame faces up to 15 years in prison, Petok said. A sentencing date has not been set.