Four California men charged in terror plot: FBI

Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy US targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.

The defendants, including a man who served in the US Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in "violent jihad," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.

Ralph Deleon of Ontario, 23, and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content on Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.

Authorities allege that in Skype calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange meetings with terrorists. The trio made plans to depart in mid-November to carry out plots in Afghanistan, primarily, and Yemen, after they sold off belongings to scrape together enough cash to buy plane tickets and made passport arrangements.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.

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