6 Charged In Alleged N.J. Terror Plot
NEW YORK -- Six men from New Jersey have been charged in an alleged terror plot against soldiers at Fort Dix, according to law enforcement sources. Investigators said the men planned to use automatic rifles to enter Fort Dix and kill as many soldiers as they could at the New Jersey military base. Fort Dix was just one of several military and security locations allegedly scouted by this group, authorities said.
The suspects, identified as Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka, Mohamad Shnewer, Derdar Tatar and Agron Abdullahu, have been charged with conspiring to kill U.S. government employees. Separately, the Duka brothers have been charged with being illegal aliens in possession of firearms. The Dukas, believed to be Islamic radicals, are in the United States illegally, while Shnewer is a U.S. citizen born in Jordan, according to the Justice Department.
The U.S. Attorney's office has told NewsChannel 4 that one of the suspects was born in Turkey and four in the former Yugoslavia. Investigators said most of the suspects have spent several years in the United States.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday there is "no direct evidence" that the men have ties to international terrorism. "They are not charged with being members of an international terrorism organization," Snow said. "At least at this point, there is no evidence that they received direction from international terror organizations."
Investigators told NewsChannel 4's Jonathan Dienst that these arrests are the result of a tip to the FBI and use of an informant to track the suspects.
Authorities were alerted in January 2006 after the terror suspects traveled to the Poconos for a training exercise where they practiced firing weapons, investigators said.
Sources have told NewsChannel 4's Brian Thompson that the suspects tried to have a training videotape converted to DVD at a store in Cherry Hill, N.J., but the store owner alerted authorities. Authorities then inserted a cooperating witness into the alleged terror cell to be a go-between in their attempt to purchase M16 and AK-47 rifles.
Arrests were made Monday night after the informant delivered dummy weapons paid for by the alleged terror cell suspects, authorities said.
Investigators said the group discussed targeting numerous locations -- such as Dover Air base, Fort Monmouth, a Coast Guard building in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federal building -- before deciding on Fort Dix as their intended target. Fort Dix is run in part by the Army and is a reserve-training center, but active units take part in training, some of which focuses on counter-terrorism.
Sources told NewsChannel 4's Brian Thompson that the family of one of the suspects owns Super Mario's Pizza, a restaurant near Fort Dix, and that the suspect claimed to know the base "like the back of his hand."
The same suspect told the alleged terror group it would be easy to penetrate to "get the most soldiers killed," sources said. Investigators said the group of suspects have been discussing and planning for much of the last year. They allegedly pooled their savings to pay for the operation targeted at soldiers, according to investigators.
Some of the group's alleged planning was caught on videotape, investigators said. On the videotape there is significant discussion of martyrdom. "Who is going to take care of my wife and kids?" one suspect asks on the tape, according to investigators. Another responds, "Allah will take care of your wife and kids."
The alleged terror cell is described by investigators as disciples of Osama Bin Laden. Among the evidence seized was the downloaded will and testament of two Sept. 11 hijackers.