A jury Monday convicted five radical Islamists of conspiring to kill members of the U.S. military at Fort Dix after more than five days of deliberations in a federal court, acting U.S. attorney Ralph Marra announced, the Department of Justice reports.
Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, Serdar Tatar and‚ brothers Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka (all from Pennsylvania) were convicted on “Count One of the seven-count Superseding Indictment that charged them with conspiracy to murder members of the U.S. military,” the DOJ reports. ‚
The defendants were however acquitted on count two, which alleged they attempted to murder.
The five now face up to life in prison for the conspiracy charge alone.
Each defendant was charged and convicted with different crimes under the seven-count Superseding Indictment, according to the DOJ release:
“Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 23, of Cherry Hill: conspiracy to murder members of the members of the U.S. military, and the attempted possession of AK-47 semi-automatic assault weapons to be used in the attack.
“Dritan Duka, 30 of Cherry Hill: conspiracy to murder members of the U.S. military; possession of machine guns; possession and attempted possession of machine guns in furtherance of a crime of violence; and two counts of possession of firearms by an illegal alien.
“Shain Duka, 27, of Cherry Hill: conspiracy to murder members of the U.S. military; possession of machine guns; possession and attempted possession of machine guns in furtherance of a crime of violence; and two counts of possession of firearms by an illegal alien.
“Eljvir Duka, 25, of Cherry Hill: conspiracy to murder members of the U.S. military, and possession of firearms by illegal aliens. The jury acquitted on one count of possession and attempted possession of machine guns in furtherance of a crime of violence.
“Serdar Tatar, 25, of Philadelphia: conspiracy to murder members of the U.S. military.”‚
Brothers Dritan and Shain Duka were arrested on May 7, 2007 in Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania when they met an unnamed government witness with the intent of purchasing three automatic and four semi-automatic rifles to be used in an attack against U.S. soldiers.
The other three defendants were‚ arrested‚ at various locations around the same time.
“These men planned, trained and ceaselessly talked unambiguously about their intention to ambush and kill U.S. soldiers” Marra said. “The word should go out to any other would-be terrorists of the homegrown variety that the United States will find you, infiltrate your group, prosecute you and send you to a federal prison for a very long time.”
During the trial, the jury found that one of the‚ defendants had conducted surveillance of Fort Dix and Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, the U.S. Coast Guard in Philadelphia and Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. ‚
A co-conspirator obtained a detailed map of Fort Dix, where they allegedly planned to use assault rifles to kill as many soldiers as possible.
The jury also viewed tapes of the men performing arms training in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. The videos show the men watching tapes of American soldiers being killed, and of known Islamic‚ radicalists‚ urging jihad against America, the DOJ reports.
Marra credits the Special Agents of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division and the FBI South Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force for their aid in the investigation. He also‚ thanks‚ military services at Fort Dix, Fort Monmouth, Dover Air Force Base and the U.S. Coast Guard in Philadelphia, as well as police departments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.