A Pakistani doctor who was formerly employed as a research coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for attempting to join the terrorist organization ISIS.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 31-year-old Muhammad Masood was employed at the Mayo Clinic under an H-1B Visa.
Masood pledged his allegiance to ISIS and its leader and wanted to conduct “lone wolf” terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. He made multiple statements about his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (“ISIS”) and in early 2020 began using an encrypted messaging application to plan his travel to Syria.
In February 2020, Masood purchased a ticket from Chicago to Amman, Jordan, and planned to travel from there to Syria. However, Masood’s travel plans were disrupted when Jordan closed its borders in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Masood then planned to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, where he believed he was going to meet an individual who could help him enter ISIS territory via a cargo ship.
Instead, Masood was arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after he checked in for his March 19, 2020, flight.
Masood pleaded guilty in August 2022 to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and was sentenced last week to 18 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.