Seven Face Terrorism Charges in N.C.

Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 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. {snip} But most defendants appear to have been turned away from the fighting and did not inflict casualties, according to court papers.


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.


Daniel Boyd.

A white American dry-walling contractor and his two sons ran a military-style training camp in North Carolina while plotting “violent jihad”, prosecutors said.

Despite leading an unobtrusive life in a rural part of the southern state, Daniel Boyd was the ringleader of a group preparing for terror attacks in countries including Israel and Jordan, it was claimed.

Mr Boyd, 39, is alleged to have roots in Muslim extremism stretching back decades and is among seven people to have been charged with planing attacks.

US officials said he was in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, training in terrorist camps and fighting the Soviets in their final years of the Afghan occupation.

Returning to America, he allegedly set up his own training and fund-raising organisation and recruited his two sons–Zakriya, 20, and Dylan, 22.

They and four other men were arrested on Monday and face various charges of providing material support for terrorism and “conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad”.

They have yet to plead but, if convicted, they face life sentences.

Prosecutors, who have not given details of the group’s targets, said the men were watched by the FBI for three years until this month.

During that time, they allegedly trained with assault weapons and tried to raise money for others willing to take part in terrorist attacks.

Mr Boyd and some of the others travelled to Israel in June 2007 intending to wage “violent jihad” but returned home without success, said prosecutors.

Mr Boyd, the alleged ringleader, held prayer meetings at his home after breaking with his local mosque earlier this year because its views were allegedly too moderate.

“The defendants prepared themselves to engage in violent jihad and were willing to die as martyrs,” said the US Justice Department.

“Over the past three years, Boyd has conspired with others in this country to recruit and help young men travel overseas in order to kill,” said David Kris, an assistant attorney general.

Mr Boyd lived south of the state capital, Raleigh, where he ran a family drywall business.

Investigators said that Mr Boyd and his brother were convicted of a bank robbery in Pakistan in 1991.

Pakistani authorities said the pair were carrying identification showing they belonged to a radical Afghan guerrilla group called Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam.

They were each sentenced to lose a foot and a hand for the robbery but the punishment was later overturned.

At the time, his American wife, Sabrina, said that the brothers had become Muslims nine years earlier.

Prosecutors say it was unclear when the Boyds returned to the US and they have not yet revealed how they first suspected them.

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