Sixto Ramiro Garcia

Sixto Ramiro Garcia was an American foreign fighter who traveled from Houston, Texas, to Syria to join ISIS alongside his friend, Asher Abid Khan.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. Garcia was a Mexican-born convert who went by the name Abdullah Ali.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html.

Garcia grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and attended high school with Khan. The pair watched extremist videos online, and photos began to emerge of Garcia posing with a black flag and rifles on Instagram.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html. Khan’s relationship with his parents became strained as he objected to his parents’ decision to work at a business that sold alcohol.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html. Due to family tensions, he moved to Australia to live with his uncle in October 2013. He later joined Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international political organization that seeks to create an Islamic caliphate, and began considering the idea of traveling to Syria as a foreign fighter.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html.

Khan reached out to Garcia via Facebook on January 6, 2014, to inform him he wanted to go to Iraq to join ISIS.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. Over the next few days, the pair researched and discussed travel logistics and on January 11, 2014, Khan messaged an ISIS facilitator on Facebook to express their desires to join.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download;
“Texas man arrested after family lures him back from ISIS’ clutches,” Fox News, May 26, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/26/texas-man-arrested-after-family-lures-him-back-from-isis-clutches/.

The facilitator only identified himself as “Mohammad” to the men.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html. According to the FBI, Mohammad was a Turkish national who had several Facebook accounts that he used to recruit and direct foreign fighters.“Texas man arrested after family lures him back from ISIS’ clutches,” Fox News, May 26, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/26/texas-man-arrested-after-family-lures-him-back-from-isis-clutches/. He advised Garcia and Khan how to get to Turkey, and planned to smuggle them across the Syrian border. He told them to purchase inexpensive, one-way tickets, an untraceable cellphone, and to trim their beards to not appear suspicious.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download;
“Texas man arrested after family lures him back from ISIS’ clutches,” Fox News, May 26, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/26/texas-man-arrested-after-family-lures-him-back-from-isis-clutches/.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Garcia traveled from Houston, Texas to London, United Kingdom on February 23, 2014.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. The next day, Khan flew from Malaysia to Turkey to meet Garcia there later that night. However, Khan’s family contacted him saying that his mother had become seriously ill. They hoped this fallacy would cause him to return home. James Queally, “Texas man arrested, accused of helping friend travel overseas to join Islamic State,” Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-texas-islamic-state-support-20150526-story.html.

Upon arriving in Turkey, Garcia learned Khan would not be meeting him there, as his friend had been deceived and had decided to return home. Although he had deserted Garcia, Khan continued to stay in contact with him and made sure Mohammad was able to find him. He messaged the ISIS recruiter and told him how to find his friend so that Garcia could make it across the border.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download.

On February 26, 2014, Garcia and Mohammad met for the first time at the Palladium Mall food court in Antakya, Turkey, a town along the Turkish-Syrian border.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download. Garcia stayed the night at a hotel and met Mohammad the following day at 11 a.m. Later, he contacted Khan and stated he had, “been delivered :)” but he was not yet with ISIS.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download.

Over a month passed before Garcia contacted Khan again, on March 29, 2014, saying he had gone through boot camp and had his own AK-47 rifle. Several weeks later Garcia told Kahn he was still not with ISIS and training with a different group that had just formed but he would join them once his training was complete.“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download.

By August 11, 2014, Garcia informed Khan he had joined the ranks of ISIS and that he “wanted to be with them in the first place.”“United States of America v. Asher Abdin Khan,” U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, May 25, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/file/441346/download.

In September 2015, the Washington Post reported Garcia was deceased. An unnamed person had used his Facebook account to contact his family to say he had died as a martyr.Adam Goldman, “An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison,” Washington Post, September 6, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-american-family-saved-their-son-from-joining-the-islamic-state-now-he-might-go-to-prison/2015/09/06/2d3d0f48-44ef-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html.

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