The arrest in Sacramento County on Wednesday of a suspected ISIS and al-Qaida leader is the latest of several terror-related cases in recent years in the capital region, ranging from suspects accused of training for Jihad to others accused of wanting to fight overseas for terrorist groups.
Omar Ameen, 45, was arrested at an Arden Arcade apartment complex on Wednesday as part of a request by the Iraqi government that he be extradited to his home country to face a murder charge there for allegedly killing a former police officer as part of an ISIS operation.
Ameen, an auto mechanic who came to the United States in 2014, is in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail and is due back in federal court Monday.
Ameen declined to be interviewed in the jail Thursday morning by The Sacramento Bee, and his wife declined to talk outside of court Wednesday.
The Ameen case is one of several filed in the region since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks involving terror or ISIS-related charges, including:
The Lodi Terror Case
The first and most controversial was the post-9/11 announcement by federal authorities in June 2005 that they had broken up an al-Qaida terror cell based in Lodi.
Prosecutors charged Hamid Hayat, then a 22-year-old cherry picker, of traveling to Pakistan to train as a terrorist and said he received explosives and weapons training that included using photos of President George W. Bush as targets. His father, Umer, also was charged with lying to the FBI.
Umer Hayat’s jury could not reach a verdict and he eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to time served.
His son, now 35, was convicted in 2006 of lying to FBI agents and providing support to terrorists. He was sentenced to 24 years and is serving his time at a federal prison outside Phoenix, where his projected release date is May 2, 2026, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
But Hayat’s conviction remains controversial and is currently the subject of an appeal pending in federal court in Sacramento, where his attorneys have argued that the terrorist training camp he supposedly attended was closed when he visited Pakistan, and that his conviction stemmed in part from the fact that he used a novice attorney who had never handled a federal criminal case before.
The Wannabe ISIS Fighter
Nicholas Teausant, a troubled college dropout and National Guard washout, was indicted in March 2014 of attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Teausant, a San Joaquin County resident who was 19 at the time, had earlier converted to Islam to impress a young woman, then became the focus of the FBI when he began discussing plans for attacks in the United States and his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
At the time, ISIS was still largely unknown in the United States, and his lawyers contended he suffered from mental illness. They claimed that he never could have carried out his boasts of planning attacks and training ISIS fighters. But when he traveled to Blaine, Wash., in an effort to get to Canada and, eventually, Syria, federal agents moved in and arrested him.
Teausant later told The Sacramento Bee in a pair of jailhouse interviews that he was not a danger to the United States, and he was philosophical about his future.
“Even if they gave me the maximum 15 years I’d come out of prison at 35,” he said in 2014. “That still leaves me the rest of my life to go to college and get a Ph.D., do what I want and be with my family.”
Teausant pleaded guilty in December 2015 to a federal terrorism charge and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Now 24, he is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Florida and has a projected release date of Oct. 3, 2024.
The American River College Student
Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, who was studying computer science in Sacramento at American River College, was arrested in January 2016 and charged with making false statements to immigration authorities about his travels overseas to Syria to allegedly fight against the Assad regime.
Al-Jayab, an Iraqi-born Palestianian who came to the United States in 2012, was subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges of providing material support to terror groups overseas.
Those cases are pending, and his lawyers in Chicago moved in January for the case there to be dismissed, arguing that Al-Jayab could not be prosecuted in the United States because he had immunity as a combatant who fought overseas. Al-Jayab “was a protected, lawful combatant as recognized by long-standing common law principles,” his lawyers argued.
Last week, a federal judge in Chicago denied that motion and ordered him to stand trial beginning Sept. 24.
The Marine Corps Washout
Everitt Aaron Jameson, a 26-year-old Modesto man who completed basic training and sharpshooting as a Marine but subsequently was discharged for failing to disclose his history of asthma, was charged in December 2017 with plotting a Christmas Day attack on San Francisco’s Pier 39.
Jameson, a tow truck driver, pleaded guilty in June to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and was sentenced Monday to a 15-year term in prison.