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Prosecutors: Ex-Brooklyn Resident Became ISIS Sniper, Trained Terrorists

July 19, 2019 - 4:28 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- A naturalized U.S. citizen from Kazakhstan who lived in Brooklyn before becoming a sniper and weapons trainer for the Islamic State group has been charged with terrorism crimes, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 42, lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn from 1998 to 2013. 

According to a criminal complaint, in Decemeber 2013, he traveled to Istanbul, Turkey and then into Syria where he joined ISIS and became a sniper for the terrorist organization before rising to an "emir'' status and training other fighters. Federal prosecutors say he also helped to establish training camps.

“The defendant, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Brooklyn, turned his back on the country that took him in and joined ISIS, serving its violent ends in Syria and attempting to recruit others to its cause,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.  

“This arrest serves as a warning to anyone anywhere in the world who intends to support or conduct attacks on behalf of terrorist groups against the United States – you will be brought to justice," stated NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.

Asainov was detained by Syrian authorities and transferred into FBI custody on Wednesday.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)