Charges: Ex-Mayo Clinic medical researcher stopped at MSP Airport was attempting to join ISIS

A 28-year-old doctor from Pakistan, who formerly worked at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been federally charged with attempting to provide material to support the terrorist group ISIS.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota, Muhammad Masood was arrested Thursday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He then made his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

A judge ordered Masood to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing, which is set for March 24.

According to the complaint, between January and March Masood made comments to others, pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) and its leader, and expressing his desire to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS. He also expressed that he wanted to complete "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in the U.S.

On Feb. 21, Masood bought a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria. Those plans, however, changed when Jordan closed its borders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Masood then planned to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in order to meet with a person he believed would help him with travel by cargo ship to get to ISIS territory.

On March 19, Masood traveled from Rochester to Minneapolis to board a flight bound for Los Angeles. After he checked into his flight at MSP, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested him. 

An official with Mayo Clinic confirmed Masood had previously worked for Mayo Clinic, but was not employed there at the time of his arrest. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota, he worked at the clinic as a research coordinator.