Three Ottawa men charged in terror investigation

Terror suspects
Awso Peshdary, 25, left, John Maguire, 24, middle, and Khadar Khalib,23, are all charged in a national security criminal investigation named Project Servant. RCMP IMAGES

The RCMP say the latest Ottawa man arrested on terrorism charges is linked to five others already charged in a terrorist conspiracy, and was also involved in a major 2010 bust that brought down the ringleader of a local terror network.

Police arrested Awso Peshdary, 25, Tuesday and charged him with participating in terrorism and facilitating terrorist activity, alleging he financed efforts to send homegrown jihadists Syria to join the ranks of Islamic State fighters.

The Mounties said the latest terror suspect — the sixth to face charges in the past three weeks — conspired with Khadar Khalib, 23, and John Maguire, 24, and also acknowledged for the first time a link between the three men and three others who were arrested in January.

RCMP chief superintendent Jennifer Strachan said the three men charged in Tuesday’s operation, dubbed Project Servant, were known to twin brothers Ashton and Carlos Larmond and Suliman Mohamed, who were all charged with terrorism-related offences in January. Carlos Larmond was picked up in Montreal after he attempted to board an international flight.

Calling the January arrests a “spinoff” investigation, Strachan said it is “quite likely there will be (other) spinoff investigations” and potentially more arrests.

“At some point during our investigation (into Project Servant) another network evolved,” said Strachan.

Strachan said the young men were known to each other and communicated largely through social networks.

“Communications were revealed between the accused and other unindicted associates,” said Strachan.

“The accused have posted photographs, videos and written comments on social media which provided evidence to demonstrate that they either supported or were active members of ISIS.”

Peshdary was certainly known to police and the courts.

He was arrested in Aug. 2010, but later released without charge as part of a massive investigation into an imminent threat to national security dubbed Project Samossa.

Hiva Alizadeh, said to be the ringleader of the group, was sentenced to 24 years, and Misbahuddin Ahmed was sentenced to 12 years for his part in the plot.

Court documents filed Tuesday show that investigators were once again on Peshdary’s trail a year after his release.

The Mounties began investigating Peshdary in November, 2012, when they say he conspired with John Maguire, and again in March 2014 when the RCMP say he conspired with Khadar Khalib.

RCMP Acting Superintendent James Malizia said Peshdary “provided financial support to facilitate travel to Syria.”

Khalib left Canada in late March 2014, and Maguire left in December 2012, both bound for Syria where they became known members of ISIS.

“Peshdary conspired with… and stayed in contact with Maguire, and together, they entered into a conspiracy to send other Canadians to Syria to join ISIS,” said Strachan.

Maguire was reportedly “martyred,” shortly after appearing in a now-infamous Islamic State propaganda video, but the Mounties say they have no evidence to confirm his death beyond a lone Jan. 14 tweet from the ISIS-linked Twitter account of Abu Saman.

“Although there were recent reports that he is deceased, we have no evidence at this point to confirm that information,” said Strachan.

Maguire’s mother, Patricia Earl, said she has not heard from her son since he angrily broke off a Skype call from Syria in August 2014.

Both Khalib and Maguire were charged in absentia with conspiring in terrorism activity, both at home and abroad, and arrest warrants were sent to Interpol.

“We continue to work actively with our domestic and international partners to return Khalib and Maguire to Canada so they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Strachan.

Calling the radicalization of Canada’s youth “a form of exploitation,” Malizia said protecting national security is “a shared responsibility” between police and an “active, resilient, informed community.”

“Through each terrorism-related charge we lay, and each arrest we make, we send a message: we won’t break our strong resolve to root out terrorist threats.”

John “Yahya” Maguire

b: Oct. 13, 1990 (24)

Joined IS in 2012, and posted a propaganda video in Dec. 2014. Was reportedly “martyred” in battle, but no official agency has confirmed his death.

Charged (in absentia) with participating in a terrorist group in Syria, Iraq and Turkey, conspiring with a terrorist network in Ottawa.

Awso Peshdary

b: Jan. 4, 1990 (25)

  • After walking free from his 2011 arrest as part of the Project Samossa terror investigation, he was arrested in Ottawa and charged with conspiracy to facilitate terror, accused of providing financial support to send homegrown jihadists abroad to Syria.

Khadar Khalib

b: Aug. 18, 1991 (23)

  • Left Canada in March 2014 to join IS. Charged (in absentia) with participating in a terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, and conspiring with Awso Peshdary and John Maguire. Charged with counseling a person to participate in terror.

Carlos Honor Larmond

b: Nov. 21, 1991 (24)

  • Arrested in Montreal while attempting to board an international flight. Charged with conspiring with his brother and others in terrorism-related offences.

Ashton Carleton Larmond

b: Nov. 21, 1991 (24)

  • Arrested near Ottawa after an RCMP investigation launched in August, 2013. The investigation later expanded to include his twin brother Carlos. Charged with conspiring in terrorism-related offences.

Suliman Idris Mohamed

b: Feb. 16, 1993 (21)

  • Arrested in Ottawa after RCMP began investigating in Aug. 2014. Charged with conspiring with Ashton and Carlos Larmond, and contributing to terrorist activity.

Source: Ottowa Sun


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