clear
Thursday May 26th, 2016 7:08AM

NY man charged with trying to support terrorists

By The Associated Press
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) -- For 25 years Marcos Alonso Zea lived in America, working most recently as a clerk at a home improvement store on New York's Long Island.

But federal authorities have arrested the U.S.-born man, charging him with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, attempting to support terrorists and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and obstruction of justice.

Zea, who nodded at his parents as he was escorted into the court room at his arraignment Friday, pleaded not guilty and was detained without bail.

"Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country and attempted to travel to Yemen to join a terrorist organization and commit murder," U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said.

Federal prosecutors accused Zea of planning to travel overseas to wage violent jihad on the perceived enemies of Islam, including Yemen's secular government.

They said he flew to London en route to Yemen in January to join Ansar al-Sharia, which the U.S. has declared an alias for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. But he was rejected by customs officials in the United Kingdom and returned to the United States.

Once home, Zea continued participating in the conspiracy, providing money and instructing co-conspirator Justin Kaliebe on how to evade electronic surveillance by law enforcement as he discussed Kaliebe's plans to fight jihad, according to court papers.

Zea was inspired by terrorist propaganda, said George Venizelos, head of the FBI's New York office.

Among violent Islamic extremist materials found on Zea's computer, authorities said, were issues of an al-Qaida publication that promotes violent jihad. The publication contained articles such as "Which is Better: Martyrdom or Victory?" "`Why did I choose al Qaeda?" and "What to Expect in Jihad?"

Investigators said they also found an al-Qaida-produced video depicting detonation of an explosive device on a vehicle carrying western military personnel.

After learning he was under investigation, Zea directed an associate to erase a hard drive on his home computer and gave an associate two more hard drives to destroy, though investigators recovered them anyway, authorities said.

Lynch said once investigators were on his trail, "he engaged in a desperate effort to cover his tracks by attempting to destroy evidence - a tactic that only confirmed his violent aims."

Kaliebe, who was arrested in January as he tried to board a plane in New York to go to Yemen, has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support.

He told a judge at his plea hearing that he had brought money to give to the al-Qaida group and he had discussed with others his desire to support the group by "providing money, equipment and ourselves." A prosecutor said the government had audio recordings of Kaliebe expressing his desire to join al-Qaida in Yemen.

He awaits sentencing in December.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the arrest "a vivid reminder of the threat we continue to face from domestic Islamic terrorists."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 6 days ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )