North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty in Terror Plot
UPDATE: On December 20, 2011, Dylan Boyd was sentenced to 8 years in prison and his brother Zakariya Boyd to nine year imprisonment. In October, Omar Aly Hassan and Ziyad Yaghi were convicted on charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Yaghi and Hysen Sherifi are also convicted of conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people. Sherifi was also convicted on weapons charges and for conspiring to murder federal employees in a plot to attack a Quantico military base.
Posted: February 10, 2011
A North Carolina man who plotted to "attack the Americans" at a Virginia military base pleaded guilty in a New Bern, North Carolina court on February 9, 2011 to charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and of conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people in a foreign country.
Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, a Muslim convert, was arrested on July 27, 2009, along with his two sons and four other North Carolina residents. The seven were charged for engaging in weapons training and conspiring to carry out "violent jihad" overseas.
In the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to dismiss several additional charges brought against Boyd of firearms-related crimes and making false statements during a terrorism investigation in exchange for the guilty plea. Boyd is scheduled to be sentenced in May and faces up to life in prison for conspiring to injure others abroad, as well as up to 15 years for his plea on material support charges.
The remaining defendants in the case, including Boyd's two sons are scheduled to stand trial in the fall.
The indictment alleged that the men six U.S. citizens and a permanent resident conspired to engage in "violent jihad" by traveling abroad to fight with mujahideen, or Muslim warriors, and to die "as martyrs." An eighth suspect, who has been identified as Jude Kenan Muhammad, is reportedly still at large and believed to be in Pakistan, according to officials. Muhammad, a 20-year old American citizen from Raleigh, was reportedly arrested in October 2008 for attempting to travel to restricted tribal areas in Pakistan, but was later released.
A superseding indictment returned on September 24, 2009, charged Boyd and Hysen Sherifi, a U.S. permanent resident from Kosovo, with conspiring to murder U.S. military personnel in connection with Boyd's alleged surveillance of a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. Additionally, Boyd allegedly obtained maps of the military base to plan the attack and possessed armor piercing ammunition to "attack the Americans," according to the Department of Justice.
According to initial reports, the men raised money and trained for possible terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv, Israel. However, the indictment does not mention a specific terrorist plot, saying only that several of the men including Boyd, his son Zakariya, 20, and two other American citizens, defendants Ziyad Yaghi, 21, and Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22 returned to the U.S. from Tel Aviv in June 2007 after "having failed in their attempt to engage in violent jihad."
At the time of his arrest, authorities seized Hassan's cell phone, which had a video recording of high-powered weapons being fired dated May 2.
Yaghi's Facebook profile includes several pictures of him with a machete and of him playing paintball (he has not been indicted on weapons charges). The profile also includes images of guns and a number of quotes, including one by Sultan Abdul Hamid II that reads: "I am not going to give 1 inch of Palestine to the Jews."
The alleged plot may be the latest in a series of plots by American Muslim extremists motivated, to varying degrees, by hatred of Jews and Israel.
In March 2006, Boyd brought one of his sons to Gaza to introduce him to "individuals who also believed that violent jihad was a personal obligation on the part of every Muslim," according to the indictment. Boyd has also been charged with making false statements twice to federal officials about who he had planned to meet with on his Israel trip.
Several of the defendants, including Boyd, his sons Zakariya and Dylan, 22 and Hysen Sherifi, 24, also face firearm charges. The men are said to have amassed various weapons and practiced military tactics and weapons training on a private property in Caswell County, North Carolina in June and July 2009. In addition, Boyd is said to have trained Sherifi on how to use and operate an AK-47 in his living room.
In addition to weapons training, the North Carolina men allegedly sought to travel abroad to train or fight with terrorist groups. In March 2008, Boyd and another defendant, Anes Subasic, 33, allegedly discussed sending two individuals overseas to "wage violent jihad," according to the indictment. Boyd is said to have provided weapons training and raised money to help arrange overseas travel for the defendants. He also sent an email to Sherifi with literature praising the virtues of a "dying shahid," or martyr, just months before Sherifi traveled to Pristina, Kosovo "to engage in violent jihad," according to the indictment.
While in Kosovo, Sherifi met with Bajram Asllani, a Kosovar citizen charged in connection with the case. Asllani provided Sherifi with videos related to "violent jihad" so Sherifi could translate and use them to motivate and recruit others, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in North Carolina following Asllani's arrest in Kosovo on June 17, 2010. Asllani also allegedly solicited money from the men to establish a base of operations in Kosovo, where they planned to store weapons and ammunition and conduct attacks in Kosovo and other countries.
At the time of Boyd's arrest, authorities reportedly found 27,000 rounds of ammunition, gas masks and a handbook on how authorities respond to acts of terrorism at his house. He was also carrying an FN-57 semiautomatic handgun when he was arrested and his son Dylan was found with a 9mm handgun.
Federal agents also seized five newspaper clippings of the September 11 terrorist attacks, two books on the Palestinians' Holocaust and the Communist Manifesto, and manuals "regarding jihad," according to a search warrant. In the Shade of the Qur'an, a book of Qur'anic commentary by Sayyid Qutb, a leading Muslim Brotherhood intellectual whose ideologies were adopted by terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and Hamas, was also found at Boyd's residence.
At the men's bond hearing in August 2009, prosecutors played audio recordings of Boyd advocating violence against the West. In one recording from June 2009, Boyd said, "I love jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah. Muslims must be protected at all costs." In the same recording, Boyd continued, "I should rejoice at this opportunity to punish the kuffar [nonbelievers] and achieve the highest station of honor Allah has place on the mujahid [holy warrior]."
In another recording, Boyd criticized the American military, which he maintains "occupy the place of our two holy sites, Mecca and Medina
they are there and they are helping the Jews to be in our third holy site, Aqsa." In reference to the American military, Boyd said, "We should take them out right now, they are over there killing our brothers." Boyd also reportedly urged his son Dylan to rob a Wells Fargo truck "for the sake of Allah," in order to collect money to travel abroad.
From 1989 to 1992, Boyd attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, allegedly fighting in the latter, according to court documents. While in Pakistan in 1991, Boyd and his brother were reportedly convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to have a foot and hand cut off, but the sentence was later overturned. In addition, they reportedly were accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerilla group Hezb-e-Islami.
Each defendant faces potential life imprisonment if convicted on all counts.
Several other American Muslim extremists have been charged, convicted or sentenced on terror-related charges in 2009. For more information, see: Criminal Proceedings in 2009.