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MA man, 18, charged with sending over $1K in gift cards to fed posing as ISIS operative

An 18-year-old Massachusetts man sent gift cards worth a total of $1,670 to someone he thought was a supporter of the Islamic State group that he intended to be used to fund a war on nonbelievers, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Mateo Ventura, of Wakefield, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Worcester later Thursday on a charge of knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said in a statement.

An email seeking comment was left with Ventura’s federal public defender.

VIRGINIA TERRORISM SUSPECT REPORTEDLY MARRIED TO ‘EMPRESS OF ISIS’

Between August 2020 and August 2021, Ventura provided about 25 cards with a total face value of $965 to someone he thought was an Islamic State group sympathizer but was actually an undercover FBI agent, according to an FBI affidavit included in court documents. Ventura was still a juvenile at the time.

He provided another $705 in gift cards after turning 18 between January and May, authorities said.

On one occasion, Ventura sent an audio file to the undercover agent pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State caliphate, according to documents.

Ventura also contacted the FBI and offered to disclose information about future terror attacks in exchange for $10 million, according to the affidavit.

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