PHOENIX – A Malian man convicted in U.S. federal court for providing material support to a Colombian narco-terrorist group was deported and turned over to Malian authorities Wednesday by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Phoenix.
Idriss Abdelrahman, 37, was repatriated to Mali aboard a commercial aircraft under escort by ERO officers. Abdelrahman, who was previously held in federal prison and immigration detention in Arizona, was turned over to Malian authorities at Bamako-Senou International Airport in Bamako, Mali, Wednesday morning.
Abdelrahman was convicted in Manhattan federal court in November 2012 for conspiring to provide material support to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, which has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization.
"Abdelrahman’s removal to Mali is the result of close cooperation between ICE personnel in Arizona, our ICE attaché staff overseas, and our law enforcement partners with the Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons," said Jon Gurule, acting field office director of ERO Phoenix. "ICE is committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to ensure individuals who pose a threat to our national security are brought to justice and then removed from the United States."
In December 2009, Abdelrahman and two associates were charged in Manhattan federal court with agreeing to transport cocaine through West and North Africa in order to support the drug trafficking activities of Al Qaeda and the FARC. The men were arrested in Ghana on Dec. 16, 2009, and subsequently transported to New York to face charges. Abdelrahman pleaded guilty to providing material support to the FARC in April 2012 and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison. The court also ordered Abdelrahman removed from the United States following his sentence.
Abdelrahman was transferred to ICE custody April 18 after completing his prison sentence at the federal prison in Safford, and was subsequently held in immigration detention in Florence pending his removal.
According to federal court documents, the FARC is a highly structured international terrorist group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Colombia. Organized as a military group, the FARC actively engages in narcotics trafficking as a financing mechanism, and has evolved into the world’s largest supplier of cocaine. The FARC has been responsible for violent acts committed against U.S. citizens and commercial and property interests in foreign jurisdictions – including in Colombia – in order to dissuade the United States from continuing its efforts to disrupt the FARC’s cocaine manufacturing and trafficking activities.