Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge man allegedly turned ISIS sniper charged in federal court

July 19, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Brooklyn federal court. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese

A Brooklyn man who ditched the borough in 2013 to fight for ISIS was charged Friday with providing material support to the terrorist organization, federal prosecutors announced.

Ruslan Maratovich Asainov lived in Brooklyn from 1998 to 2013, when he traveled to Turkey and then subsequently to Syria, allegedly to join the Islamic State. Asainov was a sniper for ISIS and attempted to recruit more Americans to the group, according to prosecutors. He rose through the ranks, becoming an “emir” in charge of teaching other ISIS fighter to use weapons, federal prosecutors said.

The criminal complaint unsealed against Asainov did not state whether or not he killed anyone in Syria.

“We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed,” Asainov messaged an associate in 2015, according to prosecutors. Asainov will be seen by District Judge Steven M. Gold in Brooklyn Federal Court Friday afternoon. He was detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces before being transferred into FBI custody, according to prosecutors.

“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,” said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

In happier times, Asainov lived in Bay Ridge.

According to the criminal complaint, Asainov sent a photo to another associate with a photo of three dead soldiers, saying, “We are dying here.” One of the soldiers was “wearing a patch that identifies him as an ISIS fighter,” according to the complaint.

Asainov allegedly attempted to recruit a confidential informant who had known him since 2008 to join ISIS in Syria. He told the informant that if he joined ISIS, he would get a job, housing, food and $50 per month, according to prosecutors. He allegedly asked the confidential informant to send him $2,800 to buy a scope for his rifle, though the informant did not send the money.

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In another message, he told the confidential informant that even “grandmothers” were joining ISIS, the complaint says.

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