Kentucky man found guilty of terrorism charges after joining and fighting for ISIS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A southwestern Kentucky man has been convicted in federal court of traveling to Syria about a decade ago to train and fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, colloquially known as ISIS, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

A federal jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, convicted Mirsad Hariz Adem Ramic, 34, on Tuesday of multiple terrorism charges related to his involvement with ISIS, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Kentucky said in a news release Wednesday. Ramic was charged with providing material support to ISIS and receiving military-type training from the organization.

He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 50 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, and a term of supervised release up to life.

Ramic and two other people flew to Turkey in 2014 and then traveled to Syria to join ISIS, according to court documents and evidence presented at trial. After joining the terrorist group, Ramic attended an ISIS training camp, where a photo of Ramic posted on social media depicted him standing in front of a truck that displayed an ISIS flag.

Ramic, a dual U.S.-Bosnian citizen, then joined a fighting unit comprised primarily of Bosnian foreign fighters and participated in ISIS’s offensive in Kobane, Syria, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

ISIS is an extremist armed group that has conducted and inspired terrorist attacks across the world, which has resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The terrorist group primarily operates in northern and eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

The State Department designated ISIS’s predecessor group, al-Qa‘ida in Iraq, as a foreign terrorist organization in 2004 and that designation continues to be in effect for ISIS. For years, numerous U.S. citizens and foreign nationals have been linked to the terrorist organization.

As of March 2023, 246 individuals have been charged in the United States on offenses related to the Islamic State since March 2014 — when the first of such arrests occurred, according to The George Washington University's Extremism Tracker.

Prosecutors: Ramic received military training at ISIS training camp

Ramic and his two co-conspirators had planned their departure from the United States and in June 2014, traveled separately to Istanbul, Turkey, according to court documents. The three then "abandoned the rest of their purchased travel itineraries" and flew to Gaziantep, Turkey, which is located near the Turkey-Syrian border, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The three individuals crossed into Syria from Gaziantep and joined ISIS, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Evidence presented at trial revealed that Ramic had received military-type training at an ISIS training camp.

"A photograph of Ramic, posted on social media, depicted him, among other things, wearing camouflage clothing and standing in front of a truck outfitted with an anti-aircraft gun and the ISIS flag," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Ramic also maintained contact with his two co-conspirators remained, the U.S. Attorney's Office added. The three discussed Ramic's use of an anti-aircraft weapon to shoot at planes, jihad, martyrdom, and fighting for ISIS.

Ramic was brought into federal custody in December 2021 after being deported to the United States from Turkey. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September.

ISIS-related cases in the United States

As of March 2023, arrests for offenses related to the Islamic State have been made in 34 states and the District of Columbia, according to The George Washington University's Extremism Tracker. Of those cases, 203 individuals have pleaded or were found guilty.

Individuals arrested and charged were accused of being informants or undercover agents, plotting domestic terror attacks, or traveling or attempting to travel overseas to join the Islamic State, the tracker found.

"While not as large as in many other Western countries, ISIS-related mobilization in the United States has been unprecedented," according to a 2015 report on ISIS from The George Washington University.

Numerous individuals have also already been arrested and charged for ISIS-related crimes in 2024.

A Southern California man was arrested in May after he allegedly conducted "swatting calls" threatening to commit mass shootings at schools in the Inland Empire, California, and Sandy Hook, Connecticut, according to the Justice Department. He also threatened to bomb Nashville International Airport on behalf of ISIS.

In the same month, a Detroit man was charged with attempting to provide currency and monetary instruments to ISIS in 2023, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Michigan said.

Earlier this year, an 18-year-old student from Idaho was arrested for planning to attack more than 21 churches on behalf of ISIS. In February, a 34-year-old resident of Texas was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release after he admitted that he illegally traveled from Turkey into Syria where he received religious and military training, according to U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Texas.

He later renounced his U.S. citizenship and called himself a citizen of the Islamic State.

Reach reporter Rachel Smith at rksmith@courierjournal.com or @RachelSmithNews on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky man found guilty of supporting and fighting for ISIS