Four California men linked to Qaeda charged in terror plot
Los Angeles: In yet another terror plot linked to al Qaeda, four Californians including an Afghan have been arrested and charged for plotting to kill Americans overseas by joining Qaeda and the Taliban.
According to a federal complaint unsealed yesterday in the US District Court of California, 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir allegedly travelled in July to Afghanistan, where he arranged for terrorist training to be conducted with al Qaeda and Taliban operatives.
Kabir, who lived in Pomona, is a naturalised US citizen born in Afghanistan, the LA Times quoting the federal authorities said.
The two other men, Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, engaged with Kabir in 2010 and both were introduced to "radical and violent Islamic doctrine," according to the complaint.
"Kabir influenced Santana and Deleon to convert to Islam," the complaint said.
Kabir and Santana allegedly posted terrorist audio and video files on their Facebook pages and communicated via Skype when Kabir was overseas, according to federal authorities.
The complaint said the men studied Internet essays and lectures by Anwar Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric and US citizen killed in Yemen in 2011 by missiles fired from a US Predator drone aircraft.
Santana is accused of posting audio files of Awlaki on a social media site, the complaint alleges.
After arriving in Afghanistan, Kabir told the two men he had arranged for them to travel to that country for terrorist training, the complaint alleged.
Santana and Deleon are accused of telling a confidential source working for the FBI that they planned to go to Afghanistan to take part in "violent jihad," the complaint said. Santana is a permanent resident born in Mexico, authorities said, and Deleon is a permanent resident born in the Philippines.
The confidential source was paid more than USD 250,000 in October by the federal government and received unspecified "immigration benefits," according to a footnote in the criminal complaint. The source was previously convicted of trafficking in pseudoephedrine.
In September, Santana and Deleon recruited Arifeen David Gojali, 21, of Riverside to travel overseas with them and join Kabir for terrorist training, according to federal authorities. Gojali is a US citizen.
Santana, Gojali and Deleon were apprehended Friday by authorities with the Joint Terrorism Task Force. They appeared before a magistrate yesterday in federal court in Riverside.
Kabir was taken into custody in Afghanistan.
The investigation is ongoing. If convicted, the men each face up to 15 years in federal prison.