Street gang leader charged with attempting to aid the Islamic State

Jason Brown, of Lombard, was arrested Thursday and is expected in court for a detention hearing Nov. 21. Brown is allegedly the leader of the AHK street gang in Bellwood.

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Elias Quinones Figueroa faces federal charges in connection to a May 27, 2020, carjacking in West Town.

Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Sun-Times file photo

The purported leader of a west suburban street gang looked down toward his hands as he began to count money under a table last August, allegedly hoping an associate would soon deliver it overseas to the Islamic State.

But when Jason Brown’s associate asked if Brown wanted credit for the donation, the feds say Brown simply pointed his middle finger in the air, smiled and handed $500 in $20 bills across the table.

“Allah knows,” Brown, 37, allegedly said August 16. “That’s the only one that needs to know as long as they get it.”

Unbeknownst to Brown, the associate helped federal authorities record audio and video of Brown that day. Now Brown, allegedly the leader of the AHK street gang in west suburban Bellwood, has been charged with trying to provide $1,500 in financial support to the Islamic State.

In this still image from a video-recording made by a federal informant meeting with Jason Brown in August, Brown holds $500 in cash and allegedly says, “Allah Knows.”

In this still image from a video-recording made by a federal informant meeting with Jason Brown in August, Brown holds $500 in cash and allegedly says, “Allah Knows.”

Federal criminal complaint

Federal authorities say Brown was radicalized while in a Georgia prison and while watching the lectures of the preacher Shaikh Abdullah Faisal. In turn, Brown sought to radicalize members of his street gang, requiring that they convert to Islam. The name of his gang, “AHK,” appears to be an alternative spelling of the Arabic word “akh,” meaning brother, according to the feds.

Brown’s gang is made up of alumni of other street gangs, including the Black P-Stones, Gangster Disciples and the Four Corner Hustlers, according to a 28-page criminal complaint that became public Friday. It said Brown believed law enforcement referred to Bellwood as “AHK city.”

The complaint also alleges the gang leader once became teary-eyed watching what he thought was a video of someone fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. He allegedly once responded to someone speaking poorly of the prophet Mohammed by saying, “his head gotta go.” And he allegedly insisted one is “not a man” without a firearm. Brown also appeared to view his radicalization of other people as “engaging in jihad while inside the United States,” according to federal authorities.

Brown, of Lombard, was arrested Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The feds say they also rounded up six other alleged AHK members or associates who were arrested on federal drug charges. An arrest warrant has been issued for a seventh.

Nicholas Grapsas, Brown’s defense attorney, declined to comment Friday. Brown is due back in a federal courtroom Nov. 21.

Brown allegedly handed $500 on three occasions to the associate who began cooperating with the FBI after having previously been the subject of an April 2013 FBI investigation. The feds “discovered no wrongdoing” by that individual, according to the complaint.

Brown allegedly thought the money he handed over would go to an Islamic State soldier engaged in active combat in Syria. That person was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, authorities said.

In addition to the meeting on August 16, Brown also allegedly left another $500 in the associate’s car Sept. 6. The associate asked, “Is this for ahh the brothers?” And Brown allegedly answered, “That’s for you. Yeah.”

Then, on Oct. 4, the associate told Brown “I’m doing some donation today to the brothers.” Brown later visited the associate at his place of business and handed over another $500, according to the complaint.

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