Chhipa, an Indian-origin man who had since become a U.S. citizen, found himself at the center of a predawn raid on his residence in Springfield, Virginia. Agents from the FBI and local Fairfax County police were captured on cell phone video by a neighbor, executing the arrest and blocking off Kingsford Road for hours.
A federal inquiry that started in August 2021 exposed that Chhipa had made a series of sizable virtual currency transactions, allegedly funneling funds to Syria’s ISIS members. Court documents suggest that between November 2019 and July 2022, Chhipa made over $172,000 in digital currency purchases. He also received an additional $15,000 from unidentified individuals.
Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa was arrested in northern Virginia for his alleged involvement with ISIS. https://t.co/J7wYyUvx77
— KTVU (@KTVU) May 9, 2023
The analysis of Chhipa’s financial transactions revealed a disturbing pattern. Over $18,000 was directed to digital wallets controlled by ISIS women detained in a Syrian refugee camp. Other funds were distributed to wallets believed to be under ISIS’s control.
The FBI noted that $61,000 was sent to Bitcoin wallets in Turkey, with an additional $60,000 still unaccounted for. Search warrant data indicates that the digital currency was likely converted back to cash and covertly transferred to the intended recipients, further strengthening the case against Chhipa.
In addition to financial ties, a deep dive into Chhipa’s online presence exposed his ideological alignment with the extremist group. Evidence from his social media profiles, books, videos, and search histories suggested an apparent affinity for topics related to jihad, radical Islamic ideology, and violent propaganda.
This case is a stark reminder of the persistent threat of terrorism, even within our borders. While the great American experiment cherishes freedom, those wishing to harm our nation and its citizens can sometimes exploit that freedom. This underscores the importance of a vigilant and capable law enforcement sector that can swiftly identify and neutralize such threats.
Chhipa, if convicted, faces up to 20 years in prison.
In this era of swift technological advancement and global connectivity, it is incumbent upon us to remain vigilant to protect our communities, our values and the integrity of our nation. This case should serve as a call to action, a reminder that we must steadfastly safeguard our American way of life.