Terrorists in North Carolina?

Terrorists in North Carolina?

According to the FBI and several major news outlets, seven people were charged today with “conspiring to provide material support to terrorists” and “conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad”. The press release, issued by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, and other FBI agents name the following people as part of the case:

Dylan Boyd, 22, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina
Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina
Ziyad Yaghi, 21, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina
Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina
Hysen Sherifi, 24, Kosovo citizen, legal permanent resident located in North Carolina
Anes Subasic, 33, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina
Zakariya Boyd, 20, U.S. citizen, resident of North Carolina

The defendants in the case were arrested Monday morning, July 27, 2009, at various locations by the FBI with the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies. The defendants all made their first court appearances today, in the federal court building in Raleigh, N.C.

Probably the scariest part of the indictment are the weapons charges. The indictment alleges that Daniel Boyd obtained a variety of weapons in the pursuit of his terrorist conspiracy, including a Bushmaster M4A3 rifle, an ETA M16 V System C-MAG, and a Ruger mini 14 long gun. But it gets worse.

The indictment further alleges that Boyd purchased a Mossburg 100 ATR .270 rifle, a Llama Camanche III .357 revolver, a Century Arms AK Sporter 7.62 X 39 rifle, a Ruger mini 30 7.62 X 39 rifle, an Ishmash SAGA .308 rifle, a Century Arms Polish Tantal 5.45 X 39 rifle, a Century Arms C91 rifle .308, a Century Arms M70B1 7.62 X 34 rifle, a Ruger mini 14 5.56 rifle, and a Smith & Wesson MP15 .223 rifle. The list of weapons obtained is not quite finished. According to the indictment, in February 2009 Daniel Boyd and his son, Dylan Boyd, sold a Beretta 9 mm handgun and ammunition to a convicted felon.

The indictment unsealed and issued today suggests that Daniel Boyd was trained at terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, that he is in fact a “veteran” of these camps, and has conspired with other citizens in America over the past three years to “recruit and help” young men travel overseas in order to learn how to kill.

Given the amount and firepower of the weapons allegedly involved in the conspiracy (and the extreme nature of the charges against the men), expect this case to take a while to develop.

All of the defendants named above are charged with “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists”, as well as a charge of “conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad”. In addition, some of the suspects (namely Daniel Boyd, Hysen Sherifi and Zakariya Boyd) will face a charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence on top of the other charges. Daniel Boyd and Dylan Boyd will also face one charge each of selling a firearm to a convicted felon based on evidence gathered in the case. To wrap up the charges, Daniel Boyd will also face a felony charge of receiving a firearm through interstate commerce as well as two charges of making false statements in a terrorism investigation. Some of these guys, if convicted, won’t be free for quite some time.

The FBI is trying to make a point with these arrests and the severity of the chargest — that terrorists and those who support their efforts are not just people living in a cave in the desert half a world away, or people confined to a remote hideout in the Middle East, but that people right her ein America are involved in illegal terrorist related activity.

This investigation is notable because of the amount of cooperation between different law enforcement agencies. Federal, state and local cops worked together for the entire length of the investigation. This new amount of law enforcement partnership is possible because of the the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Back to the indictment — allegedly, during the years between 1989 and 1992, Daniel Boyd traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to be trained “military-style” in terrorist tactics — according to the indictment, this training was for the purpose of participating in a violent jihad. The indictment further suggests that Daniel Boyd actually participated in terrorist activities in Afghanistan in the early 1990s.

Each one of the defendants named faces what amounts to a life imprisonment if they are convicted of the charges of conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad — in fact, that charge comes with a mandatory life sentence in prison. In addition, the charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists carries a maximum 15-year sentence. The further charges of receiving a firearm through interstate commerce and selling a firearm to a convicted felon carry a 10-year sentence apiece. The charge of making false statements in a terrorism investigation carries with it a mandatory eight year sentence, and finally, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence will get you a five-year sentence minimum.

Please keep in mind that any indictment is just a collection of allegations, and that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.