Four men charged with planning to join al-Qaida and Taliban to fight U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

RIVERSIDE – Four Southern California men — two of them American citizens — stand accused of planning to join al-Qaida and the Taliban to fight U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The four were named in a complaint unsealed during their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Riverside Monday. They are:

— Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, a former resident of Pomona and an Afghanistan- born naturalized U.S. citizen;

— Ralph Deleon, 23, of Ontario, a lawful permanent resident alien born in the Philippines;

— Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, of Upland, a lawful permanent resident born in Mexico whose application for citizenship is pending;

— Arifeen David Gojali, 21, of Riverside, a U.S. citizen.

The criminal complaint said the defendants conspired to provide material support to terrorists, knowing or intending that such support would be used to carry out:

— a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons and damage property in a foreign country;

— the killing of and attempts to kill officers and employees of the United States;

— the killing of U.S. nationals;

— a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States; and

— bombings at places of public use and at government facilities.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

The complaint alleges that in 2010, Kabir introduced Deleon and Santana to radical and violent Islamic doctrine, using lectures and essays by the U.S.- born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a key al-Qaida figure until he was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Kabir went to Afghanistan in July, maintaining contact with his co- defendants. He had told them to follow him to Afghanistan, where he would introduce them to Taliban and al-Qaida operatives for training., according to U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. and Bill Lewis, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Santa and Deleon told an FBI informant that they planned to travel to Afghanistan to engage in violent jihad, targeting overseas American military personnel and bases, according to Birotte and Lewis.

The case is being prosecuted by the L.A.-based U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Riverside-based Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is made up of members from the Riverside and San Bernardino county sheriff’s departments; the Riverside, Beaumont and Ontario police departments; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and the FBI.

11 Responses to "Four men charged with planning to join al-Qaida and Taliban to fight U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan"

  1. tila_12   November 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

    wow, this is upsetting :(

    Reply
  2. Sheryl   November 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    People must be bored in Riverside.
    The funniest part was a the culture diversity.
    And they would only get 15 years if convicted????? What’s wrong with this picture?

    Reply
  3. I Notice   November 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Eventhough this event is something to take very serious, I am amused of the cultural diversity of this group. Racism may soon be over

    Reply
  4. FR86   November 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

    To those of you taking this lightly, these miscreants willingly wanted to join an entity that we are actively fighting in the interest of our freedom and security. Whether or not you support the war or the actions of our government; If they had been successful, they would have been attempting to kill our military personnel…………your parents or sons and daughters.

    They should be dealt with to the full extent of the law. Personally, I hold them or anyone that sympathizes with them in the utmost contempt.

    Reply
  5. Joemamma   November 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    At least Crips and Bloods offer money and hoes for joining their gang. What does al-Qaida offer, a goat? Somehow Afghanistan doesn’t seem like a step up from America to me, but what do I know.

    Reply
  6. 3 year home owner in Fallbrook.   November 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Way to close for comfort. Comment #4) I agree with you. As a 23 year retired Marine family with adult kids to Great Grandkids in service. *I don’t understand people so lost that they would join a group like this to feel important. Just another gang to them. 15 years just doesn’t seem enough.

    Reply
  7. Wilby   November 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Okay so these creeps get 15 years, they will do 7 or 8 years in reality. So then what? They get out, having served their time, and they can continue on with their lives? Man this Country and our laws are really screwed up if that happens.

    Reply
  8. Temecula Fil-Am   November 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Filipinos would do anything to live legally in the US to improve their families’ quality of life and yet this clown: Deleon would squander that opportunity away and wants to fight the country that is feeding his family back home. He should be deported so we don’t have to waste our money on him.

    Reply
  9. I Notice   November 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I Agree Comment#8

    This brings up for a good debate. I think that a goverment should be allowed to revoke, under court law ofcouse, the residentcy or citizienship of any person that plots to do harm to the US to takes part to join a group that does harm to the US. Idealy, 6 months trial, but if found guilty YOUR OUT OF HERE!!!

    Thought???

    Reply
  10. Pink   November 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I absolutely agree with you "I Notice".

    Reply
  11. Preston   November 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    If you are unhappy with the likely punishment, blame the American People for voting to be soft on crime. It just kills me when people blame the Government or the Judicial system — Wake up, the system we have is the system we voted for. Apathy during the years of prosperity has resulted in a system so corrupt and screwed up it is sickening.

    Reply

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