2 South Florida brothers charged with terrorism
Updated On: Dec 01 2012 08:16:33 AM EST
The family of two brothers arrested by the FBI's South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Face is reacting to accusations the men were participating in a terrorism conspiracy.
More than a dozen agents arrested Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30, at an apartment complex in Oakland Park on Thursday. Both are naturalized U.S. citizens from Pakistan.
The men's brother said accusations that the men were supporting a conspiracy to obtain a weapon of mass destruction are false.
"You don't know what my family's going through... what he's going through," the brother said.
The man said he is watching his brother's four-year-old boy while the men are in the Broward County Jail.
"He drives taxi, plays with his son," he said. "What the hell is going on?"
Few details about the plot were provided by prosecutors or outlined in a brief, three-page grand jury indictment. Authorities said the case was not an FBI sting operation but declined any additional comment.
"Any potential threat posed by these two individuals has been disrupted," said Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer.
The indictment charges that the two provided money, property, lodging, communications equipment and other support for a conspiracy to obtain a weapon of mass destruction between July 2011 and this week. The goal was to "use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States," prosecutors said in a news release.
DOCUMENT: Federal indictment
It wasn't clear whether the suspects actually did obtain explosives or what their potential targets might have been.
The Qazi brothers had initial court appearances Friday, but records did not list attorneys for either man. Authorities said both are being held in the Broward County Jail. A bail hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.
They are both charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence, and with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. The maximum is life in prison for that charge.
South Florida has seen several high-profile terrorism cases, including the conviction of al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla and the convictions of five men accused of plotting to join forces with al-Qaida to destroy a landmark Chicago skyscraper and bomb FBI offices in several cities.
More recently, a Miami Muslim cleric and one of his sons are facing trial on charges they provided thousands of dollars in financial support to the Pakistani Taliban terrorism group.
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