Three men charged in a terror investigation were planning shooting rampages at Los Angeles-area military sites to retaliate for what they called the oppression of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to court documents.
The men were indicted last month on federal charges of conspiring to wage war against the U.S. government through terrorism. All three — Levar H. Washington, 25, Gregory V. Patterson, 21, and Hammad R. Samana, 21 — have pleaded not guilty.
Appearing in Los Angeles Thursday, FBI Director Robert Mueller praised local police agencies that uncovered the alleged plot in July while investigating a string of gas station robberies.
“Terrorist threats against the city and county of Los Angeles … were prevented,” Mueller said.
According to an FBI affidavit unsealed recently, Washington told authorities he was the leader of a “council” of Muslims who planned to carry out operations in Southern California as part of a jihad, or holy war, against the United States.
The suspects allegedly targeted military recruitment centers in Southern California, estimating that 10 attacks could kill as many as 40 people, the affidavit said.
…All accepted the possibility of dying in an attack, with Patterson believing “the ultimate goal is to die for Allah in jihad,” according to the affidavit.
Prosecutors contend the men were working at the behest of Kevin James, a California State Prison, Sacramento, inmate who founded the radical group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS. Washington converted to Islam while imprisoned there for a previous robbery conviction.
James, 29, is scheduled to be arraigned next week. All four face counts of conspiring to wage war against the U.S. government, kill armed service members or murder foreign officials, among other charges.
Washington, Patterson and Samana — who attended the same Inglewood mosque — allegedly conducted surveillance of military sites, synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and El Al airline facilities in the Los Angeles area as well as Internet research on Jewish holidays, prosecutors said.
Thank god this is a Federal case. Speaking from experience bringing cases to the State level and the Federal level, there is a world of difference. The Federal courts are just so much better prepared and they hammer the criminals. At the State level it’s all about getting people to take a plea.