By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Federal prosecutors in North Carolina accused six U.S. citizens and a permanent resident Monday of conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorists and to commit murder overseas. The charges come as part of a long-running investigation into Raleigh area men who stockpiled a cache of assault weapons.
At the center of the ring is Daniel P. Boyd, 39, who trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s before fighting the Soviet Union, authorities said. Boyd, a Muslim convert, returned home and three years ago allegedly began recruiting a group of men to wage jihad.
Also known as "Saifullah," or sword of God, Boyd raised money to send his acolytes on a visit to the Middle East, according to an indictment handed up by a grand jury last week and unsealed Monday.
Authorities picked up no sign of communications between Boyd and al-Qaeda or any plans by the Raleigh group to wreak havoc, according to a law enforcement source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation continues. But the weapons that the group had allegedly amassed and brandished in training exercises in North Carolina this June and July gave pause to federal officials, the source added.
The firearms mentioned in the indictment include several semiautomatic weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and carbines modeled after the military's M14 and M16.
Several of the defendants traveled to the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Israel in 2006 and 2007, as conflict in the region escalated, the indictment said. Israeli forces and Palestinian militants waged a series of battles in Gaza in the summer of 2006, and Israel briefly invaded Lebanon in July 2006 after rocket attacks by Hezbollah militants. But most defendants appear to have been turned away from the fighting and did not inflict casualties, according to court papers.
"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some faraway land but can grow and fester right here at home," said U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding.
The charges come less than a week after prosecutors in Brooklyn accused a U.S. citizen from New York of traveling to Pakistan for terrorist training and of providing intelligence to al-Qaeda operatives about the Long Island Rail Road.
Boyd is also charged with lying to customs and FBI agents two years ago about the purpose of his visit to Israel. The indictment mentions conversations between Boyd and another defendant who shared his views, and e-mail messages that Boyd sent to a third defendant that "extolled the virtues" of dying a martyr.
Members of the group "radicalized" younger converts to believe that "violent jihad was a personal obligation on the part of every good Muslim," the indictment said. The defendants, who include Boyd's sons Zakariya and Dylan, could all face life imprisonment if convicted.
The name of at least one other defendant appeared to be redacted in the indictment. A search is ongoing, another government official said.