Spring, Texas – December 4th, 2017: Asher Abid Khan, 23, of Spring, pleaded guilty today to providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Khan was a 2013 graduate of Klein Oak High School.
Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office made the announcement.
“We aggressively investigate and prosecute persons who provide material support to a terrorist organization like ISIS,” said Martinez. “Khan provided ISIS a battlefield soldier to further the terrorist organization’s violent agenda. Khan’s guilty plea is indicative of the priority this office has placed on those who would give aid and comfort to terrorists operating in the United States and abroad. ”
The investigation began in 2014 when Khan and his friend, who was living in South Texas, devised a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria for the purpose of fighting on behalf of ISIS. Khan had been living with a relative in Australia. Prior to leaving for Turkey from there, Khan told Mohamed Zuhbi, a Turkish-based foreign terrorist fighter facilitator, that he wanted to join ISIS.
Khan provided instructions to his friend on travel and how to reach him once Khan arrived in Turkey. During this part of the planning phase, it was Khan – not his friend – who was in touch with Zuhbi. On Feb. 24, 2014, Khan and his friend met in Istanbul, Turkey. At that time, Khan gave his South Texas friend money, knowing he intended to travel to Syria and join and fight with ISIS.
Khan then departed from the Istanbul Airport in Turkey and returned to the United States after his family tricked him into coming home to Houston because of an alleged hospitalization of his mother.
As soon as Khan returned to the U.S., he contacted Zuhbi with the purpose of introducing him to his friend so he could enter Syria and join ISIS as a fighter with Zuhbi’s help. Khan then provided to his friend a Turkish cell phone number for reaching Zuhbi. The following day, Khan’s friend sent an electronic message to Khan indicating he had “been delivered :),” by Zuhbi, but that he was not with ISIS yet. Over the next few months, the friend attended fighter training camps and stayed in touch with Zuhbi and Khan. During that time, Khan offered his friend money and instructed him to try to get to ISIS.
On Aug. 11, 2014, the friend finally made it to ISIS with Khan and Zuhbi’s assistance. After September 2014, he had ceased all forms of communications. On Dec. 25, 2014, the friend’s mother received an electronic message explaining that her son had died while fighting.
Zuhbi is still at large and is believed to be residing in either Turkey or Syria. There are pending criminal charges in the Southern District of Texas against Zubhi. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000.
U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes accepted the guilty plea today and his sentencing for March 5, 2018, at 1:30 pm. At that time, Khan faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko, Alamdar Hamdani and Steve Mellin of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case along with the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
2012 Klein Collins Valedictorian Found Dead in San Francisco Bay
Spring, Texas – December 12th, 2017: A body discovered in the Bay of San Francisco, California has been identified as Chuchu Ma, 23-years-old, of Spring.
Just after 10:00 AM Thursday a bicyclist on a trail near San Fransisco Bay reported seeing a body in the water. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office dive team was called in to help recover the body. A few hours after the discovery, Mountain View Police received a report of a missing person, whose description matched the body that was found. Investigators said Ma was half naked. It’s not clear if she was dumped into the bay, or if the body floated from a different location.
Ma moved out to San Fransisco to work for Google as a software developer.
In a statement issued by Google, a spokesperson wrote, “Chuchu was an excellent software engineer in our developer product team. We are devastated to learn of her passing, and our deepest condolences are with her family and friends.”
Investigators are labeling the case an unattended death and are awaiting results of an autopsy. Foul play has not yet been ruled out.
Ma was a 2016 graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, a National Merit Scholar and a 2012 valedictorian of Klein Collins High School in her hometown of Spring.
Winter Weather Advisory Just Issued For Harris County
Spring, Texas – December 8th, 2017 (National Weather Service Houston-Galveston): The National Weather Service in Houston has just issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY that is in effect for Harris County until 9:00 AM Friday Morning. As temperatures fall toward freezing, some elevated bridges and overpasses may become dangerous to travel on. Snow accumulations around 1-2 inches are possible.
Freeze Warning In Effect For Spring; Snow Flurries Possible Overnight
Spring, Texas – December 7th, 2017: According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will drop into the 30’s by midnight tonight.
A freeze warning for Spring & The Woodlands in Montgomery County is in effect from 8PM this evening until 7AM Friday morning. The NWS forecast temperatures to drop between 29 and 32 degrees overnight. Harris County is not included in this freeze warning.
Spring does have a chance of seeing some snow flurries as precipitation continues to fall, although accumulation is not expected. Roadway surface temperatures are forecast to remain in the 33-35 degree range over the metro area which will prevent any icing on bridges and overpasses.
Preparations/ What you need to do:
- Make sure your family stays safe during winter weather by preparing with these tips:
- Monitor local forecasts throughout the day, especially before you start driving. Listen to local officials for road closures and safety information.
- Winter driving can be hazardous. One simple way to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe is to slow down. Remember, “Ice and snow, take it slow”.
- Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
- Remember the 4 P’s. People, pets, pipes, plants.
- Keep warm, stay inside if possible. If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat
- Keep your pets warm. If it is too cold for you outside, it is too cold for them. Make sure they have a warm, dry place to rest with plenty of food and water.
- Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Protect your plants. Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.