On May 9th, it was reported that the FBI had raided the apartment of Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa, a Virginia man suspected of providing monetary support to members of ISIS in Syria. Chhipa, a 33-year-old Indian-born U.S. citizen, was arrested for his alleged involvement with the terrorist organization after a years-long investigation.
The investigation into Chhipa’s alleged involvement with ISIS began in August 2021 and culminated in his arrest for providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS in the form of monetary instruments, according to court documents obtained by Fox 5 DC. The crimes reportedly took place from August 2021 until January 2022.
According to the court documents, financial records indicate Chhipa purchased more than $172,000 in virtual currency between November 2019 and July 2022, and that he received an additional $15,000 in virtual currency from other individuals. An analysis of the records shows more than $18,000 of those funds were sent to wallets known to be used by ISIS women held in a refugee camp in Syria. More funds went to other wallets believed to be accessed by ISIS members.
The FBI said $61,000 went to cryptocurrency wallets in Turkey and more than $60,000 remains unaccounted for. Search warrant data showed that the virtual currency was converted back to cash and secretly passed to the intended recipients.
During the raid, the FBI and Fairfax County police blocked off Kingsford Road in Springfield for hours as Chhipa was taken into custody. In a cell phone video captured by a neighbor and shared with the outlet, an agent was heard repeatedly yelling, “Hands behind your back!”
Chhipa now faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the crimes. The agency also found through its investigation that Chhipa’s social media accounts, books, videos, and search histories confirm an ideological alignment with ISIS. The content included extremist ideology, Jihad, and violent propaganda.
This arrest comes as a reminder of the ongoing threat of terrorist organizations like ISIS and the need for continued vigilance in identifying and stopping their activities. The use of virtual currencies by terrorist groups has become increasingly common, making it even more important for law enforcement agencies to stay up-to-date on emerging threats and technologies.