NEW YORK: Yemeni Muslim from Rochester arrested on terrorism charges and plot to kill U.S. troops

A Muslim business owner from Yemen plotted vengeance attacks against members of the U.S. military for American actions overseas and Shiite Muslims over the civil war in Syria, according to federal authorities. 


Olean Times Herald (h/t Amil Imani) Federal authorities said in court papers that Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, of Rochester, bought two handguns and two silencers as part of a plan to kill members of the U.S. armed forces returning from war, as well as Shiites in the Rochester area.

The investigation included linking Elfgeeh’s home computer to tweets from alias Twitter accounts expressing support for al-Qaeda, violent holy war and Sunni insurgent groups in Syria, according to court papers. The FBI gave an informant a Walther PPK .32-caliber handgun and a Glock 26, 9 mm handgun, both with functional silencers affixed to the barrels, two boxes of .32-caliber ammunition, and two boxes of 9-millimeter ammunition, according to the affidavit.


Elfgeeh, a naturalized U.S. citizen who operates Halal Mojo and Food Mart in Rochester, paid the informant $1,050 in the transaction completed Saturday afternoon and was immediately arrested for possession of the silencers not registered in his name. U.S. Attorney William Hochul said Monday that Elfgeeh faces 10 years in prison for each silencer and the possibility of a $250,000 fine.

Elfgeeh frequently used Twitter to tweet and retweet messages expressing support for various terrorist groups and holy war, seeking donations to assist fighters in Syria, and praising al-Qaida as “our only savior,” authorities said.

According to an FBI affidavit, a government informant taped a December conversation with Elfgeeh in which he stated: “I’m thinking about doing something here to be honest with you. I’m thinking about just go buy a big automatic gun from off the street or something and a lot of bullets and just put on a vest or whatever and just go around and start shooting.”


Rochester Home Page  One of Mufid Elfgeeh’s former employees who says he’s not surprised by the arrest. After working for Mufid Elfgeeh for just a few months, former employee Victor Montalvo realized things weren’t right. He calls Elfgeeh unpredictable with built up anger and rage. Montalvo began working for Elfgeeh at MoJoe’s in March 2011.  Elfgee lived above his store.  Montalvo said right away he noticed red flags.

He’s a crazy guy, should be in prison,” said Victor Montalvo, former MoJoe’s employee. Montalvo said Elfgeeh had three different names including MoJoe, Ali and Mufid.  Without warning Elfgeeh would fire shotguns into the air in the middle of the street. ” So, a couple of days, across the street right there, there was a fight in the middle so he came with a shotgun outside and started to shoot to the air like crazy,” said Montalvo. Montalvo needed the money so he continued to work here for six more months before he finally walked out. 

Authorities said Elfgeeh changed his plans in March to killing returning soldiers, and he said in a taped conversation with an informant that he planned to act alone: “It could be right now in the daytime, and I could be … like this guy here or something … I could just go back and wait for him to when he leave to go to his garage, and just walk up slowly, boom, boom, boom, inside his garage.”

When an informant asked him whether he was going to release a video message of his attacks, Elfgeeh responded, “Once we do five or ten already, 15, something like that … then we gonna say something,” according to the affidavit.