Former UH student pleads guilty to plotting to join Islamic State group

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Asher Abid Khan, 23, of Spring, pleaded guilty on Monday to providing material support to the Islamic State group.

The investigation into Khan began in 2014 when, federal prosecutors say, he and his friend hatched a plan to travel to Turkey and then to Syria to fight on behalf of the Islamic State group.

Khan had been living in Australia with his relatives when he first started exchanging messages with a friend on Facebook.

According to the criminal complaint, he wanted to join the Islamic State group because “he didn't like living in the west anymore ... and wanted to help his brothers and sisters to seek his maker's mercy.”

Court papers also stated that Khan felt compelled to go to Syria because “his brothers and sisters are being raped, tortured and killed.”

After he reached Turkey, Khan was tricked into returning to Texas.

His relatives invented a family emergency, saying his mother was in the hospital.

According to court papers, Khan discussed his plan to support the Islamic State group with others, including a female from Spring.

Federal prosecutors say even after he returned home, Khan continued to engage with friends online about his desires to help Islamic State group, and Khan said that one day, he wished to die a martyr.

Khan will be sentenced in March and faces up to 15 years in prison.