Two New Jersey men were arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and charged with conspiracy to kill, maim and kidnap people outside the U.S., the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey said in a statement.
The men, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, were arrested yesterday as they attempted to board separate flights to Egypt on their way to join the Islamic al-Shabaab movement in Somalia and “wage violent jihad,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Alessa is a resident of North Bergen, New Jersey, and Almonte a resident of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, the office said.
The FBI began investigating the men after receiving a tip about them in October 2006. A New York Police Department undercover officer met with them and recorded numerous conversations about their plan, according to the statement.
Their preparations included physical conditioning, participating in paintball and other tactical training, and acquiring military gear and apparel for use overseas, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
The men are to appear in U.S. federal court in Newark, New Jersey, tomorrow at 11 a.m. local time, the office said.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.