Brooklyn Resident Arrested at JFK for Attempting to Join Terrorists
UPDATE: On April 12, 2012, Hasbajrami pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
Posted: September 26, 2011
A Brooklyn resident has been arrested at JFK International Airport in New York for allegedly planning to join a terrorist organization in Pakistan.
Agron Hasbajrami, a 27-year-old Albanian citizen with legal resident status in the U.S., was arrested at JFK with a one-way ticket to Istanbul on September 6, 2011, and indicted two days later on charges of providing material support to terrorists.
During his arrest, authorities found "a tent, boots, and cold weather gear," according to court documents. Authorities also searched Hasbajrami's residence, finding numerous handwritten notes, including one that said "do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time."
Hasbajrami waived his Miranda rights and admitted to having previously sent money to the unidentified terrorist group. According to court documents, Hasbajrami had been providing funds, amounting to more than $1000, to an unidentified individual associated with the terrorist group for about a year prior to his arrest.
Hasbajrami also admitted to attempting to travel to fight with the terrorist organization in Pakistan. The contact to whom he had sent money indicated that he had facilitated travel for others from the West to join the jihadist fighters in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. This contact further instructed him to get an Iranian visa and to travel either directly or through Istanbul, going so far as to provide a list of air carriers offering flights between Istanbul and Tehran.
Hasbajrami told his contact, according to court documents, that he wanted to bring as much money as possible with him, but that he was having trouble soliciting funds as his "fellow Muslims… became apprehensive 'when they hear it is for jihad."
If convicted, Hasbajrami faces up to fifteen years in prison.