Two brothers of Pakistani descent have been charged with plotting to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction within the U.S., federal prosecutors said on Friday.
The men were identified as Sheheryar Alam Qazi (30), and Raees Alam Qazi (20). Both are naturalised U.S. citizens originally from Pakistan and were arrested in the Fort Lauderdale area, prosecutors said.
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.
In Washington, Justice Department national security spokesman Dean Boyd called the case “an ongoing, very active investigation” but provided no specifics.
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”, said the prosecutors in a news release.
It wasn’t clear whether the conspirators actually did obtain explosives or what their potential targets might have been.
They are both charged with: conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, carrying a maximum 15-year prison sentence, and with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction carrying life sentence.
South Florida has seen several high-profile terrorism cases, including the conviction of al-Qaeda operative Jose Padilla and the convictions of five men accused of plotting to join forces with al-Qaeda to destroy a landmark Chicago skyscraper and bomb FBI offices in several cities.