A Chicago cab driver pled guilty on Monday to giving money to a long-time acquaintance after learning that acquaintance was working for al Qaeda, the FBI said in a statement.
Raja Lahrasib Khan, Pakistani-born but naturalized as a US citizen in 1988, was arrested in March of 2010. On Monday he pled guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He remains in federal custody until sentencing, which has been set for May 30, 2011.
Khan, 58, of Chicago’s north side, never posed any imminent domestic danger, law enforcement officials said at the time of his arrest. He remains in federal custody while awaiting sentencing, which U.S. District Judge James Zagel scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 30. The plea deal calls for a sentence of between five and eight years, along with Khan’s future cooperation with the FBI.
Khan admitted to meeting with Ilyas Kashmiri, a leader of the Kashmir independence movement, twice within the last decade. On the second meeting, in 2008, Khan, having reason to believe Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, gave Kashmiri between $200 and $250 worth of Pakistani rupees in his fight against India.
Khan then sent about $930 worth of rupees from Chicago to a person in Pakistan on on Nov. 23, 2009, via Western Union, according to the FBI. He told the recipient to give Kashmiri about $300 of it. “Although Khan intended the funds to be used by Kashmiri to support attacks against India, he was also aware that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda,” the FBI said in a statement.
Undercover agents contacted Khan seeking to send money to Kashmiri, “but only if Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda.” Khan agreed to send the $1,000 agents offered to Kashmiri, giving it to his son who was traveling to the UK, where he would later retrieve it. His son was searched and arrested at a UK airport upon arrival, where seven of the ten bills were found on him. Khan, hearing about his son, tried to plea with one of the undercover agents to let him out of the scheme, offering $800 back.