A terrorist plot to attack military and Jewish sites in the Los Angeles area this coming Sept. 11 was devised inside a cell at the New Folsom State Prison, a maximum-security prison outside Sacramento, Calif.
Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Peter Martinez, a former Oakland street gang member, and his cellmate Kevin James organized the plot and recruited as many as 13 other inmates in a jihad against the United States. The two inmates have since been placed in special confinement, according to officials.
“Al Qaeda recruits in prisons. They really do,” said Edward Caden, a retired prison administrator in California. “Prisons are a prime, prime target for terrorist recruiting. It is a ripe population.”
The plot, which called for dozens of casualties as part of a holy war against the United States, was foiled after Levar Washington, a former inmate at the Folsom Prison, and his accomplice were arrested for a string of gas station robberies.
Washington had entered prison a convicted thief and left as a militant black Muslim who had sworn allegiance to a violent jihad, according to law enforcement authorities.