Ex-Mayo Clinic researcher, who expressed desire to join ISIS, indicted by federal grand jury

A 28-year-old doctor from Pakistan, who formerly worked as a researcher at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for attempting to provide material to support the terrorist group ISIS.

Muhammad Masood, 28, was originally charged in a criminal complaint on March 19. He is in custody at the Sherburne County Jail.

According to the court documents, between January and March, Masood made comments to others about 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 shared that he wanted to complete "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in the U.S.

On Feb. 21, Masood bought a plane ticket from Chicago to Amman, Jordan and from there planned to travel to Syria. Those plans, however, changed when Jordan closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Masood then planned to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in order to meet with a person he thought would help him with travel by cargo ship to get to ISIS territory.

On March 19, Masood traveled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to board a flight 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.