Man arrested by FBI, born in West New York, pleads guilty to supporting ISIS

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A Fort Lee man who was born in West New York and arrested by the FBI in June has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group ISIS, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced. 

Samuel Rahamin Tapaz's most recent Facebook profile picture.
Samuel Rahamin Tapaz’s most recent Facebook profile picture.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to one count of conspiring with others to provide services and personnel to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), officials said.

“The crimes Samuel Topaz admitted today threatened the safety of Americans here and abroad,” Fishman said in a statement.

“Our efforts to cut off the flow of fighters and resources to known terrorist organizations will not stop with his guilty plea. We have charges pending against his conspirators and remain vigilant against these terrorist operations.”

Topaz admitted that prior to his arrest by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on June 17, 2015, he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL and had saved up money for that purpose, court documents show.

Topaz discussed plans to join ISIL with Nader Saadeh, Alaa Saadeh, and Munther Omar Saleh, and admitted that at various times each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL. Topaz also admitted they all watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam, authorities said.

As Hudson County View first reported, Topaz was born in West New York and previously lived at addresses in North Bergen and Guttenberg, according to his Facebook page, which has since been removed.

Topaz location

Prior to its deletion, Topaz had changed the page URL to say “The Angel of Carnage.”

The count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Topaz’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2015.

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