The men, all but one of whom are U.S. citizens, conspired to wage jihad overseas, according to a federal indictment. The men honed their weapons skills in rural areas of the state, authorities said.
7 arrested in North Carolina on terrorism charges
By Josh Meyer
July 28, 2009
com/news/ nationworld/ nation/la- na-terrorism- arrests28- 2009jul28, 0,3376969. story
Reporting from Washington -- Federal authorities in North Carolina on Monday arrested seven men who they said had trained with high-powered weapons as part of a terrorist conspiracy to wage an Islamic holy war overseas.
The men -- including a father who, authorities said, trained in jihad camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and his two sons -- sought to provide material support to terrorists and to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas, according to a seven-count federal indictment. The indictment did not allege that the group was plotting attacks on U.S. soil.
If convicted, the suspects, all but one of whom are U.S. citizens, could face life in prison.
At least some of the men were willing to die as martyrs, according to the indictment, which described a plot that began in 2006 and lasted until earlier this month. It said that the North Carolina residents had raised donations to support their training and had recruited and radicalized others -- "mostly young Muslims or converts to Islam, to believe . . . the idea that violent jihad was a personal obligation on the part of every good Muslim."
The men also offered weapons training and helped arrange overseas travel and contacts for others seeking to wage holy war, the indictment said.
Two federal law enforcement officials on Monday said the men did not commit any violent acts.
Although the indictment provided few details, it outlined a plan among four of the suspects "to meet up" in Israel, as well as other overseas forays. The conspiracy, according to the government, included other suspects "known and unknown," and its aim was to provide money, training, transportation and personnel to those wanting to fight a holy war against countries friendly to the United States.
David Kris, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's national security division, singled out Daniel Patrick Boyd for conspiring "to recruit and help young men travel overseas in order to kill."
"These arrests today show there are people living among us, in our communities in North Carolina and around the U.S., that are honing their skills to carry out acts of murder and mayhem," said Owen D. Harris, special agent in charge of the FBI's Charlotte, N.C., division, which led the investigation. The Charlotte division includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C., where authorities say the men conspired.
The indictment alleged that Boyd, 39, traveled to Gaza in March 2006 and attempted to enter farther into the Palestinian territories with one of his two sons.
A year later, the indictment said, Boyd -- who called himself Saifullah, or Sword of God -- his son Zakariya Boyd and two other suspects went to Israel to wage jihad but returned without success.
Defendant Ziyad Yaghi, according to the indictment, traveled to Jordan in 2006 to "engage in violent jihad." And Hysen Sherifi, a 24-year-old U.S. legal permanent resident, traveled to his native Kosovo in July 2008 to "wage violent jihad," then returned to North Carolina to raise support for Islamic militants, the indictment said.
Daniel Patrick Boyd and the other suspects showed others how to fire Kalashnikov AK-47s and other weapons similar to those used in Afghanistan, authorities said.
Ove r the last two months, Boyd and some of the others honed their weapons skills on private property in rural Caswell County, the indictment said.
The seven men made preliminary court appearances Monday and are due to appear at detention hearings Thursday in federal court in Raleigh. No attorneys for the men were listed in the criminal filings unsealed Monday.
Authorities would not comment on an unidentified associate of the men who the indictment said left the U.S. on Oct. 7, 2008, "to travel to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad."
The indictment unsealed Monday has highlighted the complexities of the U.S. presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent decades.
Daniel Patrick Boyd once fought in Afghanistan and trained in guerrilla camps there and in Pakistan, the indictment said.
But, it added, he did so between 1989 and 1992 in an effort to fight the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. Washington led and financed that campaign against its Cold War enemy with hundreds of millions of dollars in military and intelligence assistance, training and manpower.
The Associated Press reported that Boyd, a drywall installer in Willow Spring, N.C., and his brother had been convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan in 1991 and of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group Hezb-i-Islami.
Conflicting portrait of NC terror suspect emerges
By MIKE BAKER
July 28, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. Daniel Boyd may have spent the past three years traveling to the Middle East, secretly buying guns and training for jihad with a group of aspiring terrorists as federal authorities claim, but people on his cul-de-sac said Tuesday he also made plenty of time to be a good neighbor.
The 39-year-old drywall contractor and his wife were family oriented, always quick to help with gardens and treehouses and raised well-mannered kids, neighbors said a day after the FBI arrested Boyd and six others, accusing the men of planning to kidnap, kill and maim people abroad.
"If he's a terrorist, he's the nicest terrorist I ever met in my life. I don't think he is," said Charles Casale, 46, a neighbor in Willow Spring who recently got pointers on planting vegetables from the Boyds.
Federal investigators said Boyd was the ringleader of a small North Carolina-based terrorist group, involved in three years of nefarious international travel, gun buys and military-style training trips. Authorities claim the group, including an eighth suspect believed to be in Pakistan, were gearing up for a "violent jihad," though prosecutors haven't detailed any specific targets or timeframe.
Prosecutors said Boyd received terrorist training in Pakistan and brought the teachings back to North Carolina, where over the past three years he recruited followers willing to die as martyrs waging jihad the Arabic word for holy war.
Frustrated by Raleigh-area mosques that were too moderate, Boyd started breaking away this year to hold prayers in his home, prosecutors said. In the last two months, he took two group members to private property in north-central North Carolina to practice military tactics and use weapons.
"It's clear from the indictment that the overt acts in the conspiracy were escalating," U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said.
At his home, though, Boyd's neighbors and family defended him.
Boyd's wife, Sabrina, vowed that he was part of an "ordinary family" and urged the public not to rush to judgment. Boyd's sons Zakariya, 20, and Dylan, 22, were also named in the indictment.
"We have the right to justice, and we believe that justice will prevail," she said in a statement. "We are decent people who care about other human beings."
A friend and neighbor, 20-year-old Jeremy Kuhn, said the family seemed closer and more loving than any of the other nearby households.
"If it turns out they were terrorists, I will be the most shocked person in the world," he said. "I think they have seven innocent people sitting in jail waiting to have their lives ruined."
The other four men arrested range in age from 21 to 33. Only one is not a U.S. citizen, but he is a legal resident.
An attorney who met with one of the defendants, Ziyad Yaghi, 21, said Yaghi was disappointed.
"Our concern is that people are rushing to a judgment and there's no evidence that anyone's been shown," attorney Robert Nunley said.
Public defenders assigned to Boyd did not return messages seeking comment, and there were no attorneys for the other men listed in court records. If convicted of providing material support to terrorism and "conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad," the men could face life in prison. They are expected to appear in court Thursday for a detention hearing.
Authorities believe the eighth suspect is currently in Pakistan, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. A second law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the suspect was Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation.
Holding said he hoped an arrest was near, but didn't elaborate.
Authorities believe Boyd's roots in terrorism run deep. When he was in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 through 1992, he had military-style training in terrorist camps and fought the Soviets, who were ending their occupation of Afghanistan, according to the indictment.
In 1991, Boyd and his brother were convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan. They were also accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. Each was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was later overturned.
A former CIA official who was stationed in Pakistan at the time said the agency intervened and quickly persuaded the Pakistani intelligence service to help free the Boyd brothers. The former official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
The official didn't believe the Hezb-e-Islami identification cards they had been carrying proved they were jihadists.
The Boyd brothers' wives told The Associated Press in an interview in 1991 that the couples had U.S. roots but Americans were "kafirs" Arabic for heathens.
It is unclear when Boyd and his family returned to the United States, but in March 2006, Boyd traveled to Gaza and attempted to introduce his son to individuals who also believed that violent jihad was a personal religious obligation, the indictment said. The document did not say which son Boyd took to Gaza.
The indictment said some of the defendants took trips to Jordan, Israel and Pakistan to engage in jihad, but only discussed the results of one of those trips. After traveling to Israel, Boyd and his two sons returned to the United States in July 2007 "having failed in their attempt," according to the documents.
Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett in Washington; Adam Goldman in New York and Alysia Patterson in Willow Spring contributed to this report.
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