Kosovar National Charged with Terrorism Violations
Bajram Asllani, 29, a resident of Mitrovica, Kosovo, has been charged in a criminal complaint with providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad, David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; George E.B. Holding, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina; Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Division; and Robin Pendergraft, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, announced today.
Asllani, also known as "Bajram Aslani," or "Ebu Hatab," was arrested earlier today by authorities in Kosovo in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant issued in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The United States intends to seek his extradition from Kosovo to stand trial in Raleigh. In accordance with the extradition agreement between the United States and Kosovo, Asllani faces a potential maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.
Last July, eight defendants were indicted in the Eastern District of North of Carolina on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad; and other violations. Those charged were Daniel Patrick Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Hysen Sherifi, a native of Kosovo and a U.S. legal permanent resident in North Carolina; Anes Subasic, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Zakariya Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Dylan Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Jude Kenan Mohammad, a U.S. citizen; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; and Ziyad Yaghi, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina.
A superseding indictment returned on Sept. 24, 2009, added new charges against Daniel Patrick Boyd, Hysen Sherifi and Zakariya Boyd, alleging, among other things, that Daniel Boyd and Sherifi conspired to murder U.S. military personnel as part of a plot to attack troops at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. These three defendants were also charged with possession of weapons in furtherance of a crime of violence and Daniel Boyd was further charged with providing a firearm to a convicted felon.
An April 19, 2010, criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that Asllani was a member of the conspiracy involving the defendants listed above. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Asllani has had repeated communications with the conspirators; solicited money from the conspirators to establish a base of operations in Kosovo for the purpose of waging violent jihad; tasked the conspirators with completing work to further these objectives and accepted funds from the conspirators to help him travel.
Among other things, the complaint alleges that Hysen Sherifi departed from Raleigh for Pristina, Kosovo, on July 30, 2008, to pursue violent jihad. While in Kosovo, Sherifi allegedly formed a relationship with Asllani. Sherifi often referred to Asllani as "the brother" in Kosovo who was advising him and who was "wanted." According to the complaint, Asllani had been arrested by Kosovar law enforcement in 2007 and been placed on house arrest for a period of time. He was later convicted in absentia by a Serbian court in September 2009 for planning terrorist-related offenses and was sentenced to eight years of confinement.
According to the complaint, Asllani provided Sherifi with videos related to violent jihad for the purposes of translating them so they could be used to recruit others for violent jihad or to motivate those currently involved in violent jihad. Sherifi, did in fact, translate videos provided him by Asllani, the complaint alleges.
The complaint further alleges that Asllani directed Sherifi to collect money for the purpose of later purchasing land and establishing a community in Kosovo, where they could store weapons and ammunition and which they could use as a base of operations for conducting violent jihad in Kosovo and other countries. Sherifi did, in fact, return to the United States on April 5, 2009, and collected money for this purpose, receiving a check for $15,000 in July 2009. Sherifi was arrested on July 27, 2009, before he could take the money back to Asllani in Kosovo.
In addition, the complaint alleges Asllani received money from Sherifi that was sent with the intention of being used by Asllani to obtain travel documents. And finally, the complaint alleges that Daniel Boyd stated his desire to assist Sherifi in his plan to raise money for the mujihadeen in Kosovo. Specifically, Boyd stated he wanted to send his sons, Zakariya Boyd and Dylan Boyd, and himself to Kosovo after Sherifi returned. Zakariya and Dylan Boyd spent time online with Sherifi chatting with Asllani in Kosovo.
"The facts as alleged in this complaint underscore the connectivity between extremists at home and abroad and the global nature of the terrorist threat we face. At the same time, the arrest of Asllani demonstrates how effective cooperation among international partners serves to address such threats. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about this important case," said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
George E.B. Holding, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, reports that "through Asllani’s arrest, the arm of justice is proven strong enough to reach those who would do us harm. We shall continue in our relentless effort against those aspiring to commit terrorist acts on U.S. citizens, whether here or abroad."
"People who are plotting to harm America and Americans are no longer a world away from us. This case began in Raleigh, N.C., and now stretches across the globe, a circumstance no one would have thought possible less than ten years ago," said Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners are meeting this new and grim reality head on, because if we don’t - the possible impact will reverberate in every corner of our society. Our mission is to keep that from happening."
"This case highlights the very real affiliation between foreign terrorists and North Carolina. Only through the sharing of resources and information can federal, state and local law enforcement, in conjunction with alert citizens, effectively face this increased threat from violent groups. North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s assistance to the FBI in this matter firmly establishes the effectiveness of this cooperative strategy," said Robin Pendergraft, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
This investigation is being conducted by the Raleigh Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Charlotte Division of the FBI and the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Substantial assistance was provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the State Department and the Government of Kosovo.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Bowler, Barbara Kocher and Jason Cowley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorney Jason Kellhofer of the Counterterrorism Section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains mere allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.