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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Houston men accused of conspiring to help terrorists

Two Houston men have been charged with planning to aid the Taliban, U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced Tuesday.

Adnan Babar Mirza, 29 and 33-year-old Kobie Diallo Williams, also known as Abdul Kabeer and Abdul Kabir, are both in federal custody.

They are charged with conspiring to train with firearms with a goal to fight with the Taliban against coalition forces in the Middle East and providing approximately cash to support terrorist groups.

Mirza is also charged with three violations of federal firearms law.

To hone their skills in anticipation for battlefield jihad, the indictment alleges, Williams and Mirza agreed to train with firearms at various locations located in Harris and surrounding counties.

The four count indictment was returned under seal by a Houston grand jury last week and unsealed Tuesday after the appearance of both men before a U.S. magistrate judge.

“In this post 9/11 era, threats against our international security efforts are taken most seriously,” said U.S. Attorney DeGabrielle.

“While these subjects did not operate at a high level of sophistication in comparison with the 9/11 hijackers, the expressed goal was to aid the Taliban by training to carry out jihad against coalition troops in the Middle East,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Roderick Beverly.

Kobie Diallo Williams surrendered to members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force Tuesday.

Adnan Babar Mirza, who has been in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on related immigration violations, was transferred into the custody of JTTF agents this morning.

Both Williams and Mirza have been ordered to remain in federal custody without bond pending further criminal proceedings.

According to allegations in the indictment, Williams and Mirza, a citizen of Pakistan who entered the United States on a student visa on Aug. 15, 2001, allegedly viewed the United States and coalition military forces on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq as invaders. In April 2005, they agreed that they should travel to the Middle East to fight with the Taliban to engage in battlefield jihad.

On at least eight occasions between May 20, 2005, and June 17, 2006, the men engaged in firearms training, and at times in reconnaissance training.

As part of and during the alleged conspiracy, Williams and Mirza are accused of agreeing to offer financial support to Taliban fighters and their families.

Federal law prohibits contributions of goods or services to the Taliban.

As a student visa holder, Mirza is prohibited from possessing firearms. Furthermore, once his student visa expired on Dec.12, 2005, Mirza’s status changed to that of being illegally in the United States. Illegal aliens are also prohibited from possessing firearms.

The indictment charges Mirza in three counts of unlawfully possessing firearms during three firearms training sessions occurring in May 2005, March 2006 and May 2006.

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, Williams and Mirza face a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and three years supervised release.

Each of the three firearms alleged against Mirza in Counts Two through Four carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and three years supervised release, upon conviction.

The investigation resulting in the charges was led by the Houston Division of the FBI and the agency’s JTTF with participation by: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Houston Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Sheriff’s Offices of San Jacinto and Montgomery Counties.

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