FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2003
DEFENDANT YAHYA GOBA PLEADS GUILTY TO PROVIDING MATERIAL SUPPORT TO AL QAEDA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General John Ashcroft, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff of the Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney Michael Battle of the Western District of New York announced today that Yahya Goba, one of the six defendants indicted in the Buffalo cell case, has pleaded guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda.
Goba, of Lackawanna, N.Y., and five other defendants were charged in a two-count indictment in the Western District of New York last October with providing material support or resources to al Qaeda. Goba pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Skretny at federal court in Buffalo, N.Y., this morning to the second count of the indictment, which charges that from Spring 2001 through August 2001, Goba and the other defendants knowingly and unlawfully provided and attempted to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al Qaeda.
The plea agreement, the third in the Buffalo cell case, requires Goba to cooperate fully with the government's ongoing investigation in this and other terrorism probes.
Yesterday, Shafal Mosed pleaded guilty in federal court in Buffalo to the same charge, making him the first person to be convicted of providing material support to a terrorist organization based upon his own attendance at an al Qaeda-affiliated training camp. In January 2003, Faysal Galab pleaded guilty to contributing funds and services to specially designated terrorists, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (Title 50 USC 1705). The plea deals signed by Mosed and Galab also require their full cooperation with government investigations.
Attorney General John Ashcroft praised the efforts of U.S. Attorney Michael Battle and Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff in securing today's plea, along with the investigative cooperation of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Goba faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both at sentencing, which is scheduled for July 17, 2003 at 9 a.m.
On Oct. 21, 2002, Goba was indicted by a federal grand jury in Buffalo, along with co-defendants Yasein Taher, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Shafal Mosed and Faysal Galab. The indictment charged the defendants with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists from the spring of 2001 through Sept. 13, 2002, and providing material support from the spring of 2001 through Aug. 2, 2001, for receiving military-type training at the al Farooq camp affiliated with Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
In court today, Goba admitted that in early April of 2001, he and other defendants agreed to attend a military-type camp in Afghanistan to receive training for jihad. The defendant knew that the planned trip was to a camp associated with al Qaeda.
According to the plea agreement, Goba, Al-Bakri and others traveled to the al Farooq terrorist training camp the following month. Goba acknowledged that during his training, he received instruction in the assembly and use of firearms, including a Kalishnikov, 9mm handgun, rifle, M16 automatic rifle, and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Goba also acknowledged receiving instruction on a number of terrorism techniques, including weapons, explosives and tactics.
Goba's plea agreement states that Usama bin Laden spoke at the camp about, among other things, the alliance of al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The plea states that bin Laden made anti-American and anti-Israeli statements, said Americans must be driven out of Saudi Arabia, and said that there were 40 men "willing to become martyrs for the cause."
The charge Goba pleaded guilty to, a violation of Section 2339B of Title 18 of the United States Code, prohibits anyone from knowingly providing or conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the State Department. Al Qaeda was first designated an FTO in October 1999; that two-year designation was renewed in October 2001.