The men accused of planning an attack on Fort Dix discussed the use of homemade bombs, nitroglycerin and other explosives during a training session in the Poconos in February and tried to recruit others to what a federal prosecutor yesterday called "radical Islamic theology."
The new allegations were detailed in a prosecution memo filed in U.S. District Court in opposition to a request for bail by one of the men, Agron Abdullahu.
A bail hearing for Abdullahu - the only of the six defendants not charged with plotting to kill military personnel - is scheduled for today in Camden before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider. To date, Schneider has denied bail for all the defendants in the case.
The 20-page memo includes a partial transcript of a secretly recorded conversation in which Abdullahu, 24, allegedly discussed bomb making and explosives with a cooperating FBI witness and others accused in the plot.
The conversation occurred while they were staying at a rental home in the Poconos and practicing with firearms at a state park firing range, the prosecution said.
Abdullahu is quoted as saying that a bomb could be made with nitroglycerin and ammonium, using a bottle.
In another conversation, after Abdullahu allegedly said he would not kill anyone, the cooperating witness reportedly asked him how this jibed with his willingness to help others "build bombs and rockets that can kill many."
"No, you got it wrong," Abdullahu allegedly replied. "I said 'knowledge is power' and just in case somebody pushes me to the limits."
Five of the alleged conspirators, the brothers Dritan, 28, Shain, 26, and Eljvir Duka, 23, Mohamad Shnewer, 22, and Serdar Tatar, 23, have been charged with plotting to kill American military personnel.
The Duka brothers and Shnewer live in Cherry Hill. Tatar is a former Cherry Hill resident who now lives in Philadelphia.
Abdullahu, of Buena Vista Township in Atlantic County, faces a lesser charge of providing weapons to illegal resident aliens. The government alleges that he gave weapons to the Duka brothers, knowing that they were living in this country illegally.
Abdullahu is an ethnic Albanian like the Duka brothers. He and Tatar, who was born in Turkey, are legal resident aliens. Shnewer, who was born in Jordan, is a U.S. citizen.
Abdullahu came to this country as a teenager. The others arrived as young children.
The government's brief - a response to a motion seeking bail filed earlier this week by Abdullahu's lawyer, Lisa Evans Lewis - contends that Abdullahu admitted his guilt when interviewed by the FBI at the time of his arrest last week.
Abdullahu was taken into custody at his family's home in the Collings Lakes section of Buena Vista Township on May 7. The five other suspects were picked up that night in a series of raids conducted by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The arrests capped a 16-month investigation during which two cooperating witnesses had infiltrated the group and taped a number of conversations.
The government's memo alleged that Abdullahu agreed to be interviewed by the FBI at the time of his arrest and that he admitted keeping a rifle and shotgun that belonged to the Duka brothers. He also allegedly said he supplied them with those weapons and two others, a handgun and a semiautomatic rifle, that he owned.
He reportedly told authorities that the night before the trip to the Poconos in February, he traveled to Philadelphia with Shain Duka. At a pizzeria, a man he did not know gave Duka a handgun and a short time later they went to a storage facility nearby, where the same man gave Duka a shotgun, he said.
In his statement to authorities, Abdullahu also said it was one of the Duka brothers - he said he could not remember which one - who suggested that they attack a military base.
Abdullahu said this came up after he pointed out that one of the tenets of Islam is that you cannot kill civilians. He said he told the Duka brothers it would be "crazy" to attack a military base and suggested they think about their children and families and the impact such an action would have on them.
He said one of the brothers responded that "Allah would find a way to take care of family and children," according to the memo.
Abdullahu came to this country as a 16-year-old with his family in 1999. They were among thousands of Muslims airlifted to the United States during a brutal genocidal war in which the Serbian government had targeted Muslims living in the province of Kosovo.
In her motion seeking bail, Lewis argued that her client "loves his life in America and credits the American government with saving his family from death and separation."
She asked that he be released under some form of house arrest and electronic monitoring that would allow him to live with his family and continue working at a ShopRite store in Williamstown, where he is a baker.
Prosecutors contend that Abdullahu is both a danger to society and a risk of flight, and say he should be detained pending trial.