LOS ANGELES — Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.
The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a release.
A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al Qaeda leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.
The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland — converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.
They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.
Authorities allege that in Skype calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange their meetings with terrorists. Kabir added the would-be jihadists could sleep in mosques or the homes of fellow jihadists once they arrived in Afghanistan.
The trio made plans to depart in mid-November to carry out plots in Afghanistan, primarily, and Yemen, after they sold off belongings to scrape together enough cash to buy plane tickets and made passport arrangements.
The complaint also alleges the men went to a shooting range several times, including a Sept. 10 trip in which Deleon told a confidential FBI source that he wanted to be on the front lines overseas and use C-4, an explosive, in an attack. Santana agreed.
“I wanna do C-4s if I could put one of these trucks right here with my, with that. Just drive into, like, the baddest military base,” Santana said, according to the complaint.
Santana added he wanted to use a large quantity of the explosive. “If I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna take out a whole base. Might as well make it, like, big, ya know,” he said.
According to the complaint, at the shooting range that day both Santana and Deleon told a confidential FBI source they were excited about the rewards from becoming a shaheed, which is Arabic for martyr.
Ten days later, during another trip to the shooting range to fire assault-style rifles, Santana told the source he had been around gangs and had no problem taking a life.
“I watch videos on the Internet, and I see what they are doing to our brothers and sisters. … It makes me cry, and it gets like I’m, like, so angered with them,” Gojali said, according to the complaint.View Entire Story
By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention