nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Hasbarjrami (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 13, 2012) (guilty plea)

From DOJ’s press release:

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Agron Hasbajrami, 27, an Albanian citizen and resident of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York before U.S. Judge John Gleeson to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. At sentencing, Hasbajrami faces up to15 years in prison. As a condition of his plea, Hasbajrami has agreed to be deported from the United States.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

According to court documents, Hasbajrami attempted to travel to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) for the purpose of joining a radical jihadist insurgent group. In addition, Hasbajrami sent more than $1,000 in multiple wire transfers abroad to support terrorist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In pursuing his goal of violent jihad, Hasbajrami exchanged email messages with an individual in Pakistan who told him that he was a member of an armed group that had murdered American soldiers.

In order to preserve the secrecy of their communications, Hasbajrami and the individual used multiple email addresses to disguise their correspondence. In one email message, Hasbajrami stated that it was difficult to ask for money from fellow Muslims because they became apprehensive “when they hear it is for jihad.” In another email, Hasbajrami stated that he wished to travel abroad to “marry with the girls in paradise,” using jihadist rhetoric to describe his desire to die as a martyr.

On Sept. 5, 2011, Hasbajrami purchased a one-way airline ticket to travel to Turkey the following day. Based on Hasbajrami’s email communications, he intended to travel from Turkey to the FATA to join a jihadist group. On Sept. 6, 2011, Hasbajrami was arrested at an international departures terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. At the time of his arrest, Hasbajrami was carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear. Following his arrest, a search of Hasbajrami’s residence revealed, among other items, a note reading “Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time.”

“The defendant reached across the ocean from Brooklyn to Pakistan, seeking out terrorists in the hopes of becoming one. Once he found what he sought, he pledged his money, his energy, and the end of his own life to the goal of spreading terror abroad. As this case demonstrates yet again, law enforcement in New York and across the United States have the vigilance, capability and skill to catch terrorists before they strike,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch. “We will continue to bring to justice those who intend to harm Americans and hold them accountable for their actions.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk said, “The defendant has admitted to attempting to provide material support to terrorists, but this entailed much more than the money he wired overseas. If not for his arrest, he would have traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad and aim to kill American soldiers. Our mission includes not only preventing acts of terrorism here but also preventing would-be terrorists from going abroad to harm Americans.”

“The plea demonstrates that Brooklyn is no place from which to launch terrorist aspirations without the good chance of being captured and prosecuted,” Police Commissioner Kelly said. “Vigilance paid dividends again.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth D. DuCharme and Matthew S. Amatruda, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Courtney Sullivan of the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section.

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