A former New York stockbroker who became an ISIS sniper was convicted Tuesday of providing support and training to the extremist group on battlefields in Syria and Iraq.
Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 46, a US citizen and former resident of Bay Ridge, New York, was found guilty on all five counts, including providing and attempting to provide material support to the foreign terrorist organization.
The jury also concluded that his actions caused at least one death, a finding that means he faces the potential of life in prison. His sentencing is set for June 7.
“There is no place in a civilized world for the defendant’s bloody campaign of death and destruction,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York said following the verdict.
“As proven at trial, Asainov was a member of ISIS who was so committed to the terrorist organization’s evil cause that he abandoned his young family here in Brooklyn, New York, to make an extraordinary journey to the battlefield in Syria where he became a lethal sniper and trained many others to kill their adversaries, and even after being captured still pledged his allegiance to ISIS’s murderous path,” Peace said.
Prosecutors have said Asainov traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, in late 2013 and crossed the border into Syria, where he joined the terrorist organization. He rose through the ranks of ISIS and became a sniper trainer, or “emir,” overseeing the training of nearly 100 ISIS recruits in the use of weapons.
Asainov had also attempted to recruit another individual to travel from the U.S. to Syria to fight for ISIS, and sought to obtain funds to purchase a scope for his rifle from the same person, prosecutors said.
Investigators built the case against Asainov largely using his own words obtained from messaging apps, emails, recorded phone calls and an FBI interview.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.