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Kosovar man seized, linked to terror plot

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Man seized in Kosovo, charged with providing material support to terrorists
  • Case that began in Raleigh, North Carolina 'stretches across globe'
  • Suspect provided videos to recruit militants

(CNN) -- A Kosovar man was arrested overseas and faces charges of participation in a terror plot involving several suspects from North Carolina, federal authorities said Thursday.

Bajram Asllani, 29, a resident of Mitrovica, Kosovo, is charged with providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people abroad, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

He was arrested early Thursday in Kosovo on a provisional U.S. arrest warrant from the Eastern District of North Carolina. The United States will seek his extradition, authorities said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

"People who are plotting to harm America and Americans are no longer a world away from us. This case began in Raleigh, N.C., and now stretches across the globe, a circumstance no one would have thought possible less than ten years ago," said Owen D. Harris, special agent in charge of the FBI in North Carolina, in the statement.

Eight people were indicted last year in North Carolina on terror-related charges. According to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, Asllani was a member of the same conspiracy.

The April 19 criminal complaint, unsealed Thursday, alleges Asllani "solicited money from the conspirators to establish a base of operations in Kosovo for the purpose of waging violent jihad" and "accepted funds from the conspirators to help him travel."

Kosovo, which declared independence more than two years ago, was once a restive province of Serbia with a majority ethnic Albanian population. Islam is Kosovo's dominant religion in the Balkan nation.

The complaint alleges that Hysen Sherifi, one of the eight indicted last year, left Raleigh for Pristina, Kosovo, in 2008 "to pursue violent jihad" and formed a relationship with Asllani while in Kosovo.

Asllani allegedly provided Sherifi with videos to recruit militants and directed Sherifi to collect money to buy land, where weapons can be stored and a base of operation could be established.

The department said Sherifi returned to the United States, collected money and received a $15,000 check but was arrested before he could take the money back to Kosovo.

The complaint also alleges Asllani received money from Sherifi for the purpose of obtaining travel documents.

"Sherifi often referred to Asllani as 'the brother' in Kosovo who was advising him and who was 'wanted.' According to the complaint, Asllani had been arrested by Kosovar law enforcement in 2007 and been placed on house arrest for a period of time. He was later convicted in absentia by a Serbian court in September 2009 for planning terrorist-related offenses and was sentenced to eight years of confinement," the department said.

Sherifi, a native of Kosovo, is a U.S. legal permanent resident in North Carolina.

Five of those indicted are classified as U.S. citizens who are residents of North Carolina: Daniel Patrick Boyd, Zakariya Boyd, Dylan Boyd, Ziyad Yaghi, and Mohammed Omar Aly Hassan.

Others indicted are Anes Subasic, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina, and Jude Kenan Mohammad, a U.S. citizen.

The complaint says Daniel Boyd wanted to help Sherifi raise money.

"Boyd stated he wanted to send his sons, Zakariya Boyd and Dylan Boyd, and himself to Kosovo after Sherifi returned. Zakariya and Dylan Boyd spent time online with Sherifi chatting with Asllani in Kosovo," the department said.

Another indictment last year added new charges against Daniel Patrick Boyd, Hysen Sherifi and Zakariya Boyd. It alleged that Daniel Boyd and Sherifi conspired to murder U.S. military personnel in a plot to attack troops at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. The three were also charged with weapons possession.