Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans overseas and in the United States by joining Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.
The defendants were arrested for plotting to bomb government facilities and public places after federal authorities uncovered their plans to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
According to a federal complaint unsealed Monday during their initial appearances, Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, introduced two other California men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased Al Qaeda leader.
The two, Ralph Deleon, 23, and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21, converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.
In one online conversation, Santana told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad and expressed interest in a jihadist training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
The complaint also alleges the men went to a shooting range several times, including a Sept. 10, 2012, trip in which Deleon told a confidential FBI source that he wanted to be on the front lines overseas and use C-4, an explosive, in an attack. Santana agreed.
“I wanna do C-4s if I could put one of these trucks right here with my, with that. Just drive into, like, the baddest military base,” Santana said, according to the complaint, adding that he wanted to use a large quantity of the explosive.
“If I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna take out a whole base. Might as well make it, like, big, ya know,” Santana said.