Three locals charged for terrorist conspiracyWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Toledo-area men were indicted on five counts involving conspiracy, distributing information to manufacture explosives and verbal threats against the president. All three pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 26, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 42, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 24, are in custody and face possible life in prison for activities dating as far back as Oct. 2003 and continuing into Aug. 2005.
Charges allege the three suspects conspired to provide support and resources for the purpose of killing U.S. nationals. Amawi was arrested in Jordan, where he traveled in August, while El-Hindi and Mazloum were arrested at their respective residences in Sylvania and south Toledo.
They appeared in federal courts in Toledo and Cleveland on Feb. 21 and will undergo a detention hearing on Feb. 24.
Charges against Amawi are one count each of trying to enter Iraq to wage violent jihad or ”holy war,” and knowingly distributing information on the manufacture and use of explosive devices, plus two counts of willfully threatening to kill or cause bodily harm to President Bush. Amawi, a citizen of both Jordan and the United States, resided in Toledo until August of last year.
El-Hindi is a U.S. citizen, and Mazloum is a permanent legal resident, both in Toledo.
The indictment cites reports by a special agent known as ”the Trainer,” whom the suspects reportedly approached originally for assistance in security and bodyguard training. The Trainer, whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, also participated in training exercises and discussed plastic explosives, effectiveness of snipers against U.S. troops and related topics. He’s reported to have a military background and special ops training.
The FBI and Toledo’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Secret Service.
U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Getz of the Terrorism Unit, Northern District of Ohio, and Gregg N. Sofer of the Counterterrorism Section of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice are prosecuting the case.
The conspiracy to kill or maim charges carry a maximum sentence of 35 years or life if the intent is to kill. Conspiracy to supply terrorists is 15 years maximum, distributing information regarding explosives, 20 years, and five years maximum for verbal threats against the President.
In a press conference on the day of the indictment, U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said he could not release any information other than that stated in the indictment.