BOSTON -- Suspect Tarek Mehanna was charged in a Boston federal court with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to reports obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the 14,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police.
The federal complaint alleges that, beginning in or about 2001 and continuing until in or about May 2008, Mehanna conspired with Ahmad Abousamra, and others to provide material support and resources for use in carrying out a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country and extraterritorial homicide of a U.S. national.
Specifically, the complaint affidavit alleges that Mehanna and co-conspirators discussed their desire to participate in violent Jihad against American interests and that they would talk about fighting Jihad and their desire to die on the battlefield. The complaint further alleges that the coconspirators attempted to radicalize others and inspire each other by, among other things, watching and distributing Jihadi videos.
It is alleged that, among other things, Mehanna and two of his associates traveled to the Middle East in February 2004, seeking military-type training at a terrorist training camp that would prepare them for armed Jihad against U.S. interests, including U.S. and allied forces in Iraq. The complaint also alleges that one of Mehanna’s coconspirators made two similar trips to Pakistan in 2002.
According to the complaint affidavit, Mehanna and the co-conspirators had multiple conversations about obtaining automatic weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall, and that the conversations went so far as to discuss the logistics of a mall attack, including coordination, weapons needed and the possibility of attacking emergency responders. It is alleged that the plan was ultimately abandoned, because of their inability to obtain the automatic weapons they deemed necessary to effectively carry out the attacks.
Mehanna was previously indicted in January 2009 for making false statements to members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI in connection with a terrorism investigation.
If convicted on the material support charge, Mehanna faces up to 15 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.