Conflict & Justice

Southern Californian terror suspects charged with plotting to kill Americans


Former Taliban fighters display their weapons after they joined Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat on October 22, 2012.


Arif Karimi

Four men living in Southern California have been charged with plotting to kill Americans overseas and in the US, having joining Al Qaeda and the Taliban while in Afghanistan.

The men planned to engage in "violent jihad," Reuters cited the FBI as saying.

According to a complaint filed in the District Court in Riverside, Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, a naturalized US citizen born in Afghanistan and living in Pomona, introduced two other Southern California men to Anwar al-Awlaki — the US-born Yemeni cleric and Al Qaeda member — in 2010.

Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011.

More from GlobalPost: Al Qaeda operative killed in drone strike

Kabir introduced Philippines-born Ontario resident Ralph Deleon, 23, and Mexican-born Upland resident Miguel Alejandro Santana, 21, to to Awlaki's "radical and violent Islamic doctrine," the complaint reportedly said.

The men, both permanent US residents, are accused of telling a confidential source working for the FBI they planned to go to Afghanistan to take part in "violent jihad," the complaint said.

According to UPI, those two men then recruited Riverside resident Arifeen David Gojali, 21 — a US citizen — in September to travel overseas with them and join Kabir in Afghanistan for terrorist training.

Santana and Deleon were also accused of telling an FBI source that they planned to go to Afghanistan to take part in "violent jihad." 

The Los Angeles Times, citing federal authorities, reported that Kabir and Santana posted terrorist audio and video files on their Facebook pages, communicated with Kabir via Skype when he was overseas.

They also studied Internet essays and lectures by Awlaki.

UPI reported that Santana, Gojali and Deleon were arrested last Friday in an operation by the US Joint Terrorism Task Force. They appeared before a magistrate Monday in federal court in Riverside. 

Kabir was taken into custody in Afghanistan.

The men face up to 15 years in federal prison.