November 20, 2012 – Four men were arrested on Monday in southern California for a terrorist plot that planned to kill Americans overseas. The four were planning to join al Qaeda and participate in a jihad said FBI officials.
The four also are facing charges of conspiracy to murder Americans and plotting the bombing of government facilities. Since the 9/11 attack, the government in the U.S. has increased its surveillance both domestically and overseas in an attempt to catch militants and has warned that groups such as the four men arrested Monday continue to pose threats to the U.S.
U.S. authorities said that naturalized U.S. citizen Sohiel Omar Kabir was born in Afghanistan. He served between 2000 and 2001 in the U.S. Air Force and was planning to introduce the other three suspects to contacts within al Qaeda.
Authorities also arrested Ralph Deleon from Ontario, California, Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside, California and Miguel Alejandro Santana of Upland, California. If the four are convicted, they face 15 years behind bars.
Kabir, said the FBI in court documents, introduced Santana and Deleon to some radical teachings of Islam during 2010. The teachings included those of Anwar al-Awlaki the leader of al Qaeda, who was blown up by a U.S. drone. Santana and Deleon then converted to Islam.
The two men, in conversations with an FBI informant discussed what roles they wanted to take part in. Santa wanted to learn to be a sniper. Deleon wanted to fight on the front line, but also was interested in explosives.
The men planned to travel to Afghanistan and to Yemen to carry out their attacks and were planning to leave soon. They purchased airline tickets to fly to Istanbul, Turkey from Mexico City November 18. Three of the men were arrested in Riverside, California and Kabir is currently being held in Afghanistan.