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Hidden knife cited in ISIS defendant's return to jail

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Abdullahi Yusuf of Inver Grove Heights
Abdullahi Yusuf of Inver Grove Heights
Courtesy Sherburne County

A 19-year-old man who had been released to a halfway house in St. Paul pending trial was ordered back to jail in April after a utility knife was found under his bed, according to a court document filed Monday.

In January, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ordered that Abdullahi Yusuf be placed in an experimental program where the suspect received counseling and civic education classes through Heartland Democracy, a Minneapolis nonprofit.

He was allowed to stay at RS Eden halfway house in St. Paul, a social-service program that provides substance abuse treatment and correctional residential programs.

However, Davis ordered him back to jail in April after Yusuf violated halfway house rules. Authorities and Yusuf's lawyers declined at the time to say what rules he violated. 

The document filed Monday and signed by Davis disclosed that RS Eden staff conducted a random search of Yusuf's room, which he shared with three others, on April 23. Staff reported finding a box cutter under his bed; Yusuf denied knowledge of the box cutter. 

The document said Yusuf's continued presence at the halfway house would put other people at risk.

Yusuf was the first defendant to plead guilty in the federal government's investigation into Minnesotans who have allegedly enlisted or tried to enlist with ISIS, a terrorist group operating in Syria and other countries.

He was detained for questioning in May last year at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He was free until his arrest about six months later, when he was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

He pleaded guilty to that charge in February.