A devout Muslim, whose arrest on terrorism-related charges stunned his neighbours in rural North Carolina, faces the prospect of a life sentence after pleading guilty to conspiring to assist violent jihadists and to participate in attacks in foreign countries.
Daniel Patrick Boyd, 40, and six other men, including two of his sons, were first charged in July 2009 with participating and supporting a jihad overseas.
A superseding indictment two months later contained further charges, including one accusing Mr. Boyd and another man of plotting an attack on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.
He did not enter a plea on that charge when he appeared at the Federal District Court in New Bern, North Carolina, on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.
Boyd, who is due to be sentenced in May, could face up to 15 years in prison on one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and a life sentence for conspiring to ‘murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country,’ Justice Department officials said.
Mr Boyd’s neighbours in sleepy Willow Spring, about 15 miles south of Raleigh, were in disbelief when he was initially arrested.
While most of them knew he was a Muslim, they were all unaware that Boyd was known by the alias Saifullah and that he had been in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, training and supporting fighters who were trying to overthrow the Afghan government.
The charges also said that he had taken his sons Zakariya and Dylan to Gaza to introduce them to jihadists, that Mr. Boyd had been stockpiling assault weapons and that he had participated in paramilitary exercises with other Islamic radicals in the North Carolina countryside.
According to the indictments, during of 2006 to 2009, Boyd plotted with other radical Muslims to recruit jihadists and send material support to fighters overseas. Among those arrested with Boyd in 2009 were Ziyad Yaghi, Mohammad, Omar Aly Hassan and Hysen Sherifi.
Prosecutors said Boyd, who worked for a company that installs interior walls, had literature in his home and in emails discussing the need for a holy war, including some from the increasingly prominent figure Anwar al-Awlaki.
‘This case proves how our world is changing,’ the U.S. attorney George Holding said in a statement on Wednesday. ‘Terrorists are no longer only from foreign countries, but also citizens who live within our own borders.
‘The radicalization of Muslims here in our country is a very serious threat.’
Boyd, who grew up in the Washington DC area, along with his brother, was convicted of robbing a bank in Pakistan in 1991, but a sentence that included amputations of a hand and foot was overturned.
From left to right: Ziyad Yaghi, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan and Hysen Sherifi.
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