A checkpoint leading to the US embassy compound in the Yemeni capital Saana is seen on Aug. 3, 2013. The United States issued a worldwide warning that Al-Qaeda may attack in August as it ordered shut its embassies across the Islamic world.
(Photo: Mohammed Huwais, AFP/Getty Images)
A New York man who allegedly sought to join al-Qaeda's faction in Yemen was arrested Friday at his Long Island home on a range of terror-related charges, including conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction.
Marcos Alonso Zea, also known as "Ali Zea,'' was named in the federal indictment detailing his alleged efforts to join al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and his financial support of an alleged associate who also sought to join the group earlier this year.
According to court documents, Zea "conspired ... to travel overseas in order to wage violent jihad on the perceived enemies of Islam.'' As part of that effort, prosecutors said, Zea attempted to travel last year to Yemen but was turned back by British customs officials while transiting through London.
Federal authorities allege that despite Zea's failed effort to reach Yemen, he encouraged and provided financial support to associate Justin Kaliebe, who also was plotting to travel to Yemen to fight jihad.
In conversations between the two, secretly recorded by authorities in August 2012, Zea reportedly boasted about "lying'' to British officials about the purpose of his travel and "instructed Kaliebe regarding methods to evade electronic surveillance by law enforcement authorities, and discussed Kaliebe's plans to fight jihad.''
In January, Kaliebe was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport while attempting to travel to Yemen.
"Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country and attempted to travel to Yemen in order to join a terrorist organization and commit murder," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said. "When that plan was thwarted, Zea continued to support terrorism by assisting his co-conspirator's efforts to travel to Yemen to fight violent jihad.''
FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said Zea was "inspired by terrorist propaganda'' and then "turned to financing and inspiring another Long Island man's commitment to global terror'' when his own attempt at joining the group failed.