Six Charged in Murder Plot of U.S. Soldiers at NJ
May 8, 2007
CAMDEN, N.J. - Five individuals—three of them
brothers—have been arrested and charged with plotting to
kill soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey,
Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for
National Security, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie
and Philadelphia FBI Special Agent in Charge J.P. Weis
announced today. A sixth defendant is charged with
aiding and abetting the illegal possession of firearms
by three of the members of the group.
The arrests occurred last night in Cherry Hill as two of
the defendants were meeting a confidential government
witness to purchase three AK-47 automatic machine guns
and four semi-automatic M-16s to be used in an attack
they had been planning from at least January 2006,
according to criminal complaints unsealed this morning.
Some members of the group allegedly conducted
surveillance at Fort Dix and also at Fort Monmouth in
New Jersey, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and the
U.S. Coast Guard in Philadelphia. The co-conspirators
obtained a detailed map of Fort Dix, where they said
they hoped to use assault rifles and rocket propelled
grenades to kill as many soldiers as possible. They also
conducted small-arms training at a shooting range in the
Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and distributed
training videos amongst themselves that included
depictions of American soldiers being killed and known
foreign Islamic radicals urging jihad against the United
"This case underscores the need for continued vigilance
against threats within our borders," said Assistant
Attorney General Wainstein. "While these defendants are
not charged with being members of an international
terrorism organization, their involvement in weapons
training, operational surveillance and discussions about
killing American military personnel warranted a strong
law enforcement response."
"The actions of these defendants posed a real threat to
the safety and security of New Jersey citizens," U.S.
Attorney Christie said. "We will remain steadfast in our
focus on protecting New Jersey from the terrorist threat
among us whether that threat is against everyday
citizens or our men and women in uniform."
"I want to especially salute the unsung hero who took
the initiative to report the video to local
authorities," said Special Agent in Charge Weis.
"His or her actions are the embodiment of the
cooperation we need from the public to keep this nation
safe. We need to reach the point where everyone is
willing to come forward and say to law enforcement, 'I
have seen or heard something that you need to know.'"
"The individuals arrested today present an alarming
example of the need to maintain a vigilant stance
towards those who would do us harm," said Julie Myers,
ICE Assistant Secretary. "This case is an excellent
example of how ICE immigration investigative authorities
are making the country safer."
The five defendants are each charged with conspiracy to
murder members of the uniformed services, which carries
a maximum statutory penalty of imprisonment for any term
of years or for life. All six defendants were to appear
this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel
Schneider in federal court in Camden, where the
government would be seeking their detention without
The investigation began on Jan. 31, 2006, after the FBI
received a video recording showing the six individuals
charged in the complaint and four other men firing
assault weapons in militia-like style at a Poconos
shooting range. The recording depicted them calling for
holy war (jihad) and shouting "God is great" in Arabic.
The recording was recovered after one of the plotters
took the videotape to a retail establishment seeking to
have it converted into a DVD. According to the
complaint, the DVD was to be distributed and used as a
Alarmed by what they had seen on the videotape, store
employees contacted the FBI. After the recording was
turned over to the FBI, agents used a confidential
witness (CW) to infiltrate the group. The CW convinced
the plotters that he had the same jihadist goals and
that he could get them weaponry needed to carry out the
assault at Fort Dix.
Two of the defendants—Dritan Duka and Shain Duka - were
arrested at a residence in Cherry Hill last night as
they arrived to purchase the AK-47s and M-16s as
previously arranged with the CW. (The weapons provided
by the FBI for the controlled purchase were inoperable.)
Eljvir Duka was arrested at Dritan Duka's residence; the
other three at their respective residences. All of the
arrests and court-authorized searches of the residences
were conducted beginning about 9 p.m. last night.
The defendants are as follows:
Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, of Cherry Hill. He was born
in Jordan, is a U.S. citizen and is employed as a
taxicab driver in Philadelphia.
Eljvir Duka, 23, of Cherry Hill, a.k.a. "Elvis Duka,"
a.k.a. "Sulayman," was born in the former Yugoslavia.
Duka is illegally residing in the U.S. and operates
businesses known as Qadr. Inc., Colonial Roofing and
National Roofing, all of which list business addresses
the same as his residence.
Dritan Duka, 28, of Cherry Hill, a.k.a. "Distan Duka,"
a.k.a. "Anthony Duka," a.k.a. "Tony Duka." He was born
in the former Yugoslavia, is illegally residing in the
U.S. and operates businesses known as Colonial Roofing
and National Roofing, both which list business addresses
at the residence of defendants Eljvir Duka and Shain
Duka. (All of the Dukas charged are brothers).
Shain Duka, 26, of the same address as Eljvir Duka in
Cherry Hill, a.k.a. "Shaheen," was born in the former
Yugoslavia. Shain Duka is illegally residing in the U.S.
and operates businesses known as Colonial Roofing and
National Roofing, both which list business addresses the
same as his residence.
Serdar Tatar, 23, of Philadelphia, was born in Turkey.
Tatar is legally residing in the U.S. His last know
employment was at a 7-Eleven convenience store in
Agron Abdullahu, 24, of Buena Vista Township, Atlantic
County, was born in the former Yugoslavia. Abdullahu is
legally residing in the U.S. and is employed at a
The Duka brothers and Abdullahu were born in the former
Abdullahu is charged only with aiding and abetting the
Duka brothers' illegal possession of weapons, which
carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
Each of the Duka brothers are also charged with being
illegal aliens in possession of firearms, which carries
a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A criminal complaint and this news release can be found
at the U.S. Attorney's Office Public Affairs Office Web
site: www.usdoj.gov/usao/nj/press/index.html (All
affidavits for each of the defendants are the same.)
The CW, following his infiltration of the Duka
Organization, recorded numerous conversations with the
defendants, in which they discussed tactics,
surveillance and plans for attacking U.S. military bases
and killing soldiers, radical theology and hatred of
America and support of jihad.
On Aug. 11, 2006, for example, Shnewer was recorded by
the CW as Shnewer described his and the group's
intentions in an attack at Ft. Dix:
"My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of
soldiers.... This is exactly what we are looking for.
You hit four, five or six Humvees and light the whole
place [up] and retreat completely without any losses."
Repeatedly, Shnewer was recorded saying that he knew
what they were doing was illegal and that their
activities had to be hidden. In one instance, Shnewer
allegedly showed a DVD from his computer to the CW,
telling the CW it had to be done in private because,
"It's about something that can lead to prison." The DVD
depicted various jihadist images while a narrator
recruits the observer to the jihadist movement.
Shnewer at one point gave his laptop computer to the CW
with the instruction that he look at certain video
files, according to the complaint. (The FBI copied the
hard drive before it was returned to Shnewer.) Among
them, according to the complaint, was a file that
appeared to depict the last will and testaments of two
of the September 11 hijackers and another with images of
Osama Bin Laden and other Islamic extremists calling the
viewer to join the jihadist movement.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. All of the
defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Special Agents of the FBI's Philadelphia Division and
the FBI South Jersey Joint Terrorism Task Force, under
the direction of Special Agent in Charge J.P. Weis, in
Philadelphia, conducted the investigation.
The FBI South Jersey JTTF is comprised of the Camden
County Prosecutor's Office, under the direction of the
Acting Prosecutor Joshua M. Ottenberg, N.J. State
Police, under the direction of Col. Joseph "Rick"
Fuentes, Superintendent, the Delaware River Port
Authority Police, under the direction of Chief Vincent
Borrelli, and Philadelphia Division of ICE, under the
direction of Special Agent in Charge John P. Kelleghan.
Assistance and support in making the arrests was
provided by the Cherry Hill Police Department, Cherry
Hill Fire Department, Camden County Sheriff's
Department, Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania
State Police, Mt. Laurel Police Department and the
Burlington County Prosecutor's Office. (USDOJ/FBI)
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