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North Carolina man pleads guilty to terrorism conspiracy

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The defendant, Zakariya Boyd, is a U.S. citizen
  • His father pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in February
  • Other co-defendants, including another Boyd family member, await trial in September

(CNN) -- A North Carolina man could face up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal terrorism conspiracy charge, according to prosecutors.

Zakariya Boyd entered a guilty plea on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement.

Boyd, 22, is one of eight defendants, including his father and brother, who were indicted in 2009 on charges of conspiring to provide money, transportation, training and other resources to jihadist recruits.

His father, Daniel P. Boyd, pleaded guilty to two counts of terrorism conspiracy in February. The remaining co-defendants, currently in U.S. custody, are scheduled to go on trial in September.

"Today, Mr. Boyd stepped into an American courtroom and was afforded the rights and privileges of a system of which he would have destroyed," U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in statement Tuesday.

"His decision to plead guilty sets him on a different path -- a path consistent with the rights and safety of the citizens of the United States, both at home and abroad."

According to the indictment, the Boyds and their alleged co-conspirators offered money and weapons training to aspiring terrorists, and were willing to die as martyrs for their jihadist cause.

The defendants also solicited donations, obtained assault weapons and inculcated others in the belief that committing acts of violence against perceived enemies of Islam is a requirement of their faith, the indictment states.

The alleged co-conspirators also plotted to kill U.S. military personnel in a plan to attack the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, according to court records.

Various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Raleigh and Durham police departments, and North Carolina's Alcohol Law Enforcement office took part in the investigation, the statement said.

The investigation stretched from North Carolina to eastern Europe, where in June 2010, authorities arrested a Kosovar man for taking part in the conspiracy. The suspect, Bajram Asllani, 29, of Mitrovica, allegedly solicited money from the alleged North Carolina co-conspirators to establish a base for jihadist operations in Kosovo.

Asllani is accused of giving alleged co-conspirator Hysen Sherifi videos to recruit militants and of directing the latter to collect money to buy land, where weapons could be stored and the base could be established. Despite Asllani's arrest, U.S. authorities have been unable to extradite the Kosovar suspect.

Sherifi, a native of Kosovo, is a U.S. legal permanent resident in North Carolina. The other co-defendants: Mohammed Omar Aly Hassan, Anes Subasic, Jude Kenan Mohammad, Ziyad Yaghi and the Boyds are U.S. citizens.