A Somali cabdriver was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for his role in a broader San Diego-based conspiracy to provide material and logistical support to the Islamic terrorist group, al-Shabaab.
Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud from Anaheim was the last of four defendants to be sentenced in connection with the conspiracy that sought to transfer funds to al-Shabaab through a now- defunct hawala or money-transmitting business system in San Diego, the Shidaal Express.
Mohamud's co-defendants included Basaaly Saeed Moalin, also a cab driver, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, an imam at a local mosque visited by members of the local Somali immigrant community, and Issa Doreh, who worked in the hawala that helped transfer money to al-Shabaab.
A federal judge sentenced all three individuals to prison terms ranging from 10-18 years in November.
Court records and evidence presented during a three-week trial that ended a year ago showed that Moalin, the group's ringleader, was in direct telephone contact with Aden Hashen Ayrow, a well-known leader of al-Shabaab between 2007 and 2008. In those calls, Ayrow asked for several thousand dollars and said that "it is time to finance jihad." Moalin also provided his house in Somalia to serve as an al-Shabaab safe house.
Ayrow died in a U.S. missile strike in May 2008.
During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller acknowledged Mohamud's crimes were of a milder nature than those of his co-defendants but added, "These offenses are still very serious."