(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Two South Florida men were charged Friday with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, federal officials said.
The suspects are brothers — Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30.
They were both identified as naturalized citizens from Pakistan. They made their first court appearance Friday afternoon in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The indictment alleges that between July 2011 and Nov. 29, 2012, the suspects were conspiring to “provide material support and resources — including property, services, funding, lodging, communications equipment, personnel and transportation — knowing and intending that this support be used in preparation for and in carrying out a violation of law — namely, a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.”
The indictment also alleges that the suspects were “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States” during the same timeframe.
“The FBI’s number one priority is counterterrorism and we continue to work with our partners to protect the U.S. and its people from harm,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Division in a news release. “To be clear, this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today’s indictment charges two individuals for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction.”
One official knowledgeable of the case described the man’s intent as “serious,” but the source said it did not appear that an attack was imminent.
“This was not a sting,” sources told ABC News, adding that the younger brother had been in contact with overseas radicals, possibly connected to al Qaeda.
The FBI found evidence that the younger brother had been monitoring recent FBI “sting” cases, the sources said. Infiltrating the alleged conspiracy was a “non-starter,” authorities said.
If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists charge and a life sentence on the conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction charge.
Defense attorneys representing the men did not return calls or emails from ABC News.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire