CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Six Men Arrested for Fort Dix Attack

From The six men charged in connection with a plot to attack the Fort Dix military reservation were ordered held without bail on Friday by a federal magistrate. The men were arrested on Monday night after the authorities said they tried to buy machine guns from an informer working with the F.B.I. Prosecutors said the informer had infiltrated the group in March 2006 and helped the authorities tape the suspects training with automatic weapons, conducting surveillance of military bases in New Jersey and Delaware and vowing to kill scores of soldiers.

Christopher J. Christie, the United States attorney for New Jersey, has described the suspects as Islamic extremists who represent a new breed of threat: loosely organized domestic militants unconnected to, but inspired by, Al Qaeda or other international terror groups. Prosecutors argued Friday in United States District Court here that the men, who lived in southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, would pose a danger to the public if released and, because they were all born overseas, were also a risk to flee the country.

Only one of the suspects asked for bail: Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, a cabdriver and American citizen who was born in Jordan. He is described in the criminal complaint as the main facilitator of the plan. His lawyer, Rocco C. Cipparone Jr., said Mr. Shnewer, 22, and his family had lived in the United States for decades, and his friends and relatives offered to put up four properties with $580,000 in equity for bail. Mr. Cipparone requested that Mr. Shnewer be placed under 24-hour house arrest at his family’s home in Cherry Hill, and said he could be fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet to ensure that he did not stray. But R. Stephen Stigall, an assistant United States attorney, argued that given the seriousness of the charges, it would be dangerous to release him.

Mr. Stigall also asserted that house arrest offered the public little protection because Mr. Shnewer “was living in that same house” when the authorities said he was assembling the plan to attack Fort Dix. Joel Schneider, the United States magistrate judge, ordered that Mr. Shnewer, along with the five others, remain at the federal detention center in Philadelphia without bail. Mr. Shnewer, along with Serdar Tatar, 23, and three brothers — Eljvir, Shain and Dritan Duka, ages 23, 26 and 28 — face charges of conspiring to kill uniformed American soldiers, which carry a possible sentence of life in prison. The sixth suspect, Agron Abdullahu, 24, is charged with helping illegal immigrants obtain weapons, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to have a more detailed bail hearing on Thursday. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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