Four U.S. Residents Arrested For Plans To Join Al-Qaida

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 20 2012 2:57 PM

Four U.S. Residents Arrested For Plans To Join Al-Qaida, Taliban

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A computer screen shot taken on July 12, 2010, shows the cover of the newly-released first edition of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) 'Inspire' magazine, an on-line publication with articles including 'Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom'

Photo by -/AFP/Getty Images.

Four U.S. residents have been arrested and handed terrorism charges for allegedly attempting to join al-Qaida and the Taliban, the FBI announced Monday night. The men were reportedly inspired by the essays of Anwar Awlaki, the American citizen and Muslim cleric who was killed by an American drone attack in 2011.

Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, has been detained in Afghanistan, where he was waiting for the other three men to arrive, allegedly for training, the Los Angeles Times reports. Kabir is a naturalized U.S. citizen. The Times explains more:

In 2010, Kabir allegedly introduced Ontario resident Ralph Deleon, 23, and Upland resident Miguel Alejandro Santana, 21, to "radical and violent Islamic doctrine," according to the complaint. "Kabir influenced Santana and Deleon to convert to Islam," the complaint said.
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Apparently, authorities were tipped off to the group when Santana, a lawful U.S. resident who has applied for U.S. citizenship, tried to bring a copy of the al-Qaida magazine Inspire across the border from Mexico. Following that incident, the men seem to have left a pretty extensive trail indicating their intentions. According to CNN, Santana and Deleon were soon befriended by an FBI agent posing as would-be terrorist, who recorded their conversations. Santana also talked to an FBI agent online, in which he said he wanted to join al-Qaida. The complaint by federal authorities also cites Facebook posts of the men containing radical content.

The three were later joined by Arifeen David Gojali, 21, a U.S. citizen. They're facing a maximum 15-year federal sentence.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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