November 20, 2012

FBI: 4 Calif. men charged in alleged terror plot

The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities.

The Associated Press

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This provided photo taken Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, by Jenny Collins from her neighbor's window shows law enforcement and FBI agents during a raid at the home of 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland, Calif. Santana was one of four Southern California men charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday. In one online conversation, Santana told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad and expressed interest in a jihadist training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jenny Collins)

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Members of the media gather outside the home of 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland, Calif. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. Vidriales is one of four Southern California men charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said. In one online conversation, Santana told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad and expressed interest in a jihadist training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Court documents show the men talked about their propensity for violence.

Santana, who claimed he went to Mexico to learn how to shoot different kinds of guns and how to make explosives, wanted to be a sniper. Deleon said he hoped he could be on the front lines or use C-4, an explosive, in an attack.

Gojali, a U.S. citizen, was recruited in late September and he said he would be willing to kill. "I watch videos on the Internet, and I see what they are doing to our brothers and sisters. ... It makes me cry, and it gets like I'm, like, so angered with them," Gojali said.

This past summer, plans to travel to Afghanistan became clearer for the group.

They talked about how they would avoid detection. They talked about opening an Afghan orphanage or possibly posing as cologne salesmen. They finally devised a cover story that they were going to attend Kabir's fictional wedding.

It's unclear whether Kabir actually made contact with Taliban or al-Qaida fighters, but in an August video conversation with Deleon, Kabir was with a shiekh or an imam, the complaint said.

Before leaving Deleon said he was going to leave parents a farewell letter. Asked by the informant if Deleon could lie about his true intentions in the letter, Deleon said, it's OK to lie in war. "I believe right now ... we are in a state of war," he said.

Using the informant's debit card, Deleon bought four tickets for a flight from Mexico City to Istanbul scheduled to leave this past Sunday. Had the men made it to Afghanistan, federal authorities believe they would have initially joined the Taliban and then inducted into al-Qaida.

Even if he failed in a terrorist training camp, Santana said, he would continue trying.

"If for some weird reason, if I can't handle it, I'm not going to give up," he said, according to court documents. "Like, because, this is my strong intention. This is what I desire of doing in this life."

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