Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- An Alabama man was arrested at the bus terminal on Greene Street Tuesday morning on terrorism charges.
Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, 25, is from Mobile, Ala.
Randy Wilson (also known as Rasheed Wilson), 25, was arrested in Atlanta while trying to board a flight to Morocco Tuesday morning. Wilson is also from Mobile.
The FBI claims Wilson and Abukhdair planned "to travel from the United States to Mauritania intending to prepare to wage violent jihad."
The FBI says Abukhdair and Wilson are accused of conspiring to provide "material support to terrorists, knowing or intent that it will be used in preparation for, or in carrying out a conspiracy to kill persons or damage property outside the United States."
Abukhdair is also charged with passport fraud. He allegedly applied for a new passport, claiming he lost his old one.
The FBI reports that the two met online in 2010. An undercover agent met with the duo, and Wilson allegedly said he and Abukhdair were planning a trip to wage "violent jihad."
The undercover agent says, "Their ultimate goal of engaging in violent jihad remained constant."
Abukhdair allegedly told the undercover agent that the end goal for Islam was to take over the world and that jihad was the means of achieving this goal.
The undercover agent quoted Wilson saying, "Jihad is the pinnacle of Islam. There's no deed better than jihad."
Another informant met with the duo this year and claims the two planned to travel to Casablanca, Morocco, before going to Mauritania.
The FBI says Wilson has a wife and two small children who all lived in Mobile. According to the report, he is friends with (and is a former roommate of) Omar Hammami, who was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List on Nov. 14, 2012.
Abukhdair was born in New York and moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 2007 to study Arabic. He moved from Cairo to Alexandria, Egypt, in 2010. He was arrested in 2010 with his roommates for his suspected role in a terrorist group. After he was released, he was deported back to America. He lived in South Carolina and Ohio and then moved to Mobile. He is not believed to be married or have children.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case. It will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Here's a timeline of the case with information from the affidavit:
- October 2010: Wilson and Abukhdair meet online.
- September 2011: Wilson, Abukhdair and the undercover agent embedded with them spend hours watching videos with Islamic extremist propaganda, bombings, lectures on violent jihad and al-Qaida leaders. There were violent themes in the videos, including prisoner beheadings and body mutilations.
- October 2011: The FBI agent asks what would happen to their families if something were to happened to the three of them while planning this plot. Wilson tells them their families shouldn't worry because if somebody "dies to shaheed," their family will be taken care of by the community.
Wilson allegedly notes to the agent that he has a lot to offer the "mujahideen" in their fight against America and the West because he knows America's weaknesses.
- Oct. 29, 2011: Wilson drives to Cleveland and brings Abukhdair to Mobile, Ala. Abukhdair moves in with Wilson and his family.
- Nov. 1, 2011: Wilson and Abukhdair plan to sell personal items, possibly commit crimes (burglary, robbing drug dealers, home invasion) to raise money for travel to commit the acts.
Wilson asks to use undercover agent's credit card to purchase airline tickets. He allegedly says they would never be coming back so it would be "free."
- Feb. 3, 2012: Frustrated with the time it was taking to plan all of this, Abukhdair allegedly suggests committing a terrorist act within the country instead, such as buying six guns for a domestic attack. The undercover agent claims he wanted to take hostages so the U.S. would release Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman ("The Blind Sheik," alleged mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Aafia Siddiqui (arrested with information on making bombs and list of NYC landmarks, also shot at interrogators). Wilson did not like the plan, saying the U.S. wouldn't negotiate with terrorists.
Abukhdair is quoted by the undercover agent saying, "Well, at the very least, we kill them all, and it's going to make the [government] look bad if they just let all of their citizens die."
He suggests a shootout with police or filling a car with explosives and driving it into a building.
- Feb. 4, 2012: The two thought they saw an FBI surveillance van and then throw out all of their computers and electronics into the Mobile Bay. They discuss getting their story straight in case they were arrested. They gave six CDs to the FBI undercover agent, who was told to destroy them.
- Feb. 7, 2012: In an attempt to convince they FBI that they no longer wanted to travel for jihad, Wilson and Abukhdair open a men's fragrance store. They sign a three-year lease. The store is open March through June but closes in July after business is slow.
- June 4, 2012 A mutual friend of Wilson tries to fly but is denied. The friend decides to become a Confidential Human Source (CHS) for the FBI and starts hanging around Wilson. The source claims Wilson previously spoke of deaths of innocent women and children as collateral damage. The two had previously conspired together in a plot to take place in Somalia.
- July 13, 2012: The CHS becomes embedded in the conspiracy.
- Oct. 7, 2012: Abukhdair tries to leave for Jordan but is turned down by the airline. He has a four-hour interview with agents but did not reveal the plot. Wilson and Abukhdair think they have outsmarted the FBI.
- Oct. 10, 2012 Wilson reaches out to the undercover agent about buying airline tickets. They discuss meeting in Europe and then going to the Middle East.
Wilson tells the CHS the following reasons why they should go to Mauritania:
1. It's less influenced by the West compared to other countries.
2. The government is weak.
3. It's cheap to live there.
4. There's no jihad being waged there, so going there would not raise suspicions.
5. It's close to locations that Wilson believed would emerge as new fronts, including Mali.
- Oct. 27, 2012: Wilson sends the undercover agent information to book flights. Their plan is to meet up (Wilson, Wilson's family and the CHS) with the undercover agent in Morocco and then travel to Mauritania together.
- Oct. 31, 2012: The undercover agent buys tickets for Wilson. They plan to fly out Dec. 11 from Atlanta then to New York and on to Morocco.
- Nov. 11, 2012: The undercover agent books a flight for Abukhdair on Dec. 13 to fly from Montreal to Morocco. Abukhdair can't fly in America because he was previously denied from a flight.
- Nov. 16, 2012 Wilson, Abukhdair and the CHS meet in Mobile to discuss the travel plans.
- Dec. 6, 2012: A bus ticket is bought for Abukhdair to leave Mobile on Dec. 11 and go to Montreal.
- Dec. 11, 2012: Both Wilson and Abukhdair are arrested. Wilson is arrested while trying to board a flight in Atlanta and Abukhdair is arrested in Augusta, Ga., at a bus terminal.