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Tag: Neil H. MacBride

Man Who Shot at N. Va. Military Installations Pleads Guilty

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 23-year-old man who caused a stir by shooting at military installations in Northern Virginia in late 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday in Alexandria, Va. fed court to damaging more than $100,000 in property and firearms violations.

Yonathan Melaku, 23, of Alexandria, Va., was involved in five separate shootings at military installations in northern Virginia between October and November 2010 and attempting to damage veterans’ memorials at Arlington National Cemetery. No one was injured in the shootings.

Sentencing is set for April 27.

“Yonathan Melaku pled guilty to carrying out a calculated, destructive campaign to instill terror throughout our community,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in a statement. “The video he filmed during one drive-by shooting is a chilling portrayal of his intent and the escalating danger he posed. Thanks to the FBI and their law enforcement partners, we were able to apprehend Mr. Melaku, develop the evidence that linked him to the shootings and secure this conviction today.”

According to the statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Melaku admitted that he carried out a series of five shootings from Oct. 17, 2010, through Nov. 2, 2010, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (twice), the Pentagon, a Marine Corps recruiting sub-station in Chantilly, Va., and a U.S. Coast Guard recruiting office in Woodbridge, Va.

Each shooting took place late at night or early in the morning and involved multiple 9mm rounds fired at each building. The cost for repairs at the facilities exceeded $100,000.

Authorities said that Melaku admitted that during the second shooting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, he set up a video camera within the interior of his vehicle to record the shooting incident.

Authorities said the video shows Melaku repeatedly firing a handgun out the passenger-side window, and he narrates the incident on the video and states, among other things: “That’s my target. That’s the military building. It’s going to be attacked” and at the conclusion of multiple shots exclaiming “Allahu Akbar” repeatedly.

Suburban D.C. Man Accused of Spying for Syria

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the suburbs of D.C., resident Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid was more than just a suburban dweller, at least according to the FBI.

Authorities announced this week charges against the 47-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, who lived in Leesburg, Va., and allegedly collected video and audio recordings and other information about people in the U.S. and Syria who were protesting the government of Syria.

Authorities alleged the he turned over materails to Syrian intelligence agencies “in order to silence, intimidate, and potentially harm the protestors.” He was arrested on Tuesday.

A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., charged him with conspiring to act as an agent of the Syrian government in the United States without notifying the Attorney General as required by law; two counts of providing false statements on a firearms purchase form; and two counts of providing false statements to federal law enforcement.

“The ability to assemble and protest is a cherished right in the United States, and it’s troubling that a U.S. citizen from Leesburg is accused of working with the Syrian government to identify and intimidate those who exercise that right,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of Alexandria said in a statement. “Spying for another country is a serious threat to our national security, especially when it threatens the ability of U.S. citizens to engage in political speech within our own borders.”

 

2 Somali Pirates Get Life in Death of 4 U.S. Citizens

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pirate biz may have provided a good life for two Somalian men. Now it’s simply providing life — in prison that is.

Ali Abdi Mohamed, 30, and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf, 31, were both sentenced Monday in federal court in Norfolk, Va. to life in prison for their roles in the pirate attack in February off the coast of Oman against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of four U.S. citizens, the Justice Department said.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.

“Piracy is a scourge that threatens nations, commerce, and individual lives,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “This is the first case where American lives have been lost due to Somali piracy, and as Somali pirates expand their territory, the risk of violence and harm to others continues to grow. Today’s sentences send a message to all those who participate in piracy that armed attacks on the high seas carry lifelong consequences.”

Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI added: “The pirates’ vain attempt to obtain ransom, after nine days at sea, ended in the death of four Americans. Today’s life sentences will be heard throughout the pirate community—and should send a clear message—that the days of unbridled armed robbery and extortion at sea are over. The only plunder these pirates earned is life behind bar.”

Authorities said the two men pled guilty to piracy, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Nine co-conspirators have also pled guilty and will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

The two men were among 19 Somalis who searched the high seas for a vessel to hold for ranson.

After several days at sea, authorities said,  the pirates were approximately 900 miles from Somalia and running low on fuel when they spotted the American vessel, the S/V Quest. So they took the four people aboard as hostages. Eventually during a standoff with U.S. warships, the pirates killed the four hostages.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Va. Man Who Plotted to Blow Up D.C. Area Subways Gets 23 Years; Was Caught in FBI Sting

Farooque Ahmed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s serious prison time for Farooque Ahmed, 35, of Ashburn, Va., who pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the Washington area subway system.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce in  Alexandria, Va. sentenced Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, to 23 years in prison. Ahmed thought he was plotting with al Qaeda members to blow up the Metro system, when in fact he was dealing with undercover FBI operatives and agents in a sting.

“Mr. Ahmed today admitted he was determined to kill as many people as possible through multiple bombings at the heart of our nation’s capital,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “It’s chilling that a man from Ashburn could admit to planning these acts of terrorism, and a 23-year sentence is a just punishment. We are grateful for the outstanding work of the FBI in detecting and disrupting this plot.”

“From his home in Ashburn, Virginia, believing that he was working for Al-Qaeda, Farooque Ahmed plotted to carry out the simultaneous bombing of multiple Metro trains in the D.C. area,” said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Ahmed was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 27, 2010.

According to court records, Ahmed met with people he thought were with al Qaeda and conducted surveillance and recorded video of Metrorail stations in Arlington, Va., on four occasions.

Ex-High School Football Player Arrested in Bid to Join Terrorist Group; Made Threats About South Park Show

SouthPark1.jpg

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 20-year-old Virginia man, who made threats against the TV show “South Park”, was arrested Wednesday on charges of providing material support to al Shabaab, a terrorist organization in Somalia with links to al Qaeda, authorities said.

Zachary Adam Chesser, 20, of Fairfax County, Va., who according to a report in the Washington Post, was a high school football player and rowed crew, told federal agents that he twice tried to travel to Somalia to join the al Shabaab as a foreign fighter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria said.

He was not charged for his online posting in April that said the creators of the TV show “South Park” risked death by mocking the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Associated Press

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