RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) | Federal authorities searched overseas Tuesday for a U.S. citizen charged with plotting “violent jihad” as part of a North Carolina-based group of aspiring international terrorists.
Investigators arrested seven men involved in the group Monday, accusing them of military-style training at home and plotting terror attacks abroad. The men purchased several weapons over the past year, and in June and July, three of them went to private land in North Carolina to practice “military tactics,” according to the indictment.
“It’s clear from the indictment that the overt acts in the conspiracy were escalating,” U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said.
Authorities think the eighth suspect is in Pakistan, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Holding declined to discuss the whereabouts or name of the eighth defendant, whose name is redacted from court papers. “Federal authorities hope to have him apprehended shortly,” he said.
The indictment names Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, as the group’s ringleader, and authorities said he recruited others to join his cause. Prosecutors have said Mr. Boyd was frustrated by the moderate mosques in the Raleigh area and began holding private prayer services in his home.
Mr. Boyd’s wife, Sabrina, said in a statement issued through the Muslim American Society in Raleigh that the charges have not been substantiated.
“We are ordinary family,” she said. “We have the right to justice, and we believe that justice will prevail.”
The Boyds lived at an unassuming lakeside home in a rural area south of Raleigh and had a family operated drywall business. Neighbor Jim Stephenson said he often saw them walking their dog.
“We never saw anything to give any clues that something like that could be going on in their family,” Mr. Stephenson said.
Mr. Boyd’s two sons, Zakariya, 20, and Dylan, 22, also were named in the indictment. The others charged are Anes Subasic, 33; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21. Hysen Sherifi, 24, a native of Kosovo and a legal U.S. resident, was also charged. He was the only non-U.S. citizen arrested.
The seven men appeared in court Monday, charged with providing material support to terrorism and “conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad.” If convicted, they could face life in prison.
In 1991, Mr. Boyd was convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan and was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was overturned.
Mrs. Boyd said in her statement that her husband had been in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet Union “with the full backing of the United States government.”