Financing travel to Syria – jewelry store robbery (Canada)
According to a US indictment, Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi has been charged with providing material support to terrorists. The RCMP arrested Abdullahi on 15 September 2017 following a US extradition request. According to the US indictment, “Abdullahi committed an armed robbery of a jewelry store for the purpose of financing the travel and efforts of co-conspirators in supporting and joining terrorist fighters engaged in terrorist actiVity in Syria…”.
Reports indicate that Abdullahi sent funds through Western Union to San Diego, and those funds were used to pay for flights to Turkey for a friend and cousin who left the US in March 2014. Abdullahi and his accomplices are reported to have sent around $3,000 abroad, and Abdullahi may have also wired money to Gaziantep, although the purposes of these funds are unknown.
The jewelry store owners allege that Abdullahi and his accomplices stole between $10,000 and $20,000 worth of gold rings and pendants.
Analysis: While jewelry theft is relatively uncommon in Canada in terms of funding terrorism, it is common for terrorists and extremist travellers to fund their activities through small-scale criminal activity.