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Two Plead Guilty To Conspiring To Murder For Terrorist Group

March 3, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, 3 March 2011: Two New Jersey men who were arrested at JFK International Airport last summer pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to murder people overseas on behalf of a terrorist group.

Mohamed Hamoud Alessa, 21 years old, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to murder persons outside the United States on behalf of Al Shabaab, a foreign terrorist organization operating in Somalia.

The Department of Justice said the defendants had planned to travel outside the U.S. and murder “individuals whose beliefs and practices did not align with their extremist ideology.” They admitted they planned to join Al Shabaab, and they had saved thousands of dollars and bought airline tickets to Egypt with the intent to then travel to Somalia. They also had traveled to Jordan in 2007 and inquired about opportunities to meet with groups “committed to establishing Islamic law through violence,” the Justice Department said.

Alessa and Almonte “planned and trained for a mission that began in their New Jersey neighborhoods and would end with the murder of innocent civilians,” said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Each faces a sentence of up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under terms of their plea agreements, they agreed not to request a sentence of less than 15 years in prison, while the government agreed not to request a sentence of more than 30 years. They are scheduled for sentencing June 20.

 

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