Alleged terror plot leader was honorably discharged from Air Force
The ringleader charged in an alleged plot to commit "violent jihad" served in the U.S. Air Force more than a decade ago before being honorably discharged.
Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, who was born in Afghanistan but is now a U.S. citizen, was arrested Friday on suspicion of plotting to kill Americans and recruiting three Inland Empire men to participate in a plot to travel to Afghanistan to commit violence. Kabir, who lived in Pomona until recently, was apprehended in Afghanistan, where he had been since July. The three other men were arrested together at an apartment complex in Chino on Friday.
Kabir served as an airman first class from July 20, 2000 to Dec. 17, 2001, according to the Air Force. Records indicate that he was honorably discharged, but no information was available about where he served or why he left.
The government said that Kabir recruited two of the men, Ralph Deleon, 23, of Ontario and Miguel Alejandro Santana, 21, of Pomona, in 2010, after meeting them in a hookah lounge, and that he then introduced them to "radical and violent Islamic doctrine."
After Kabir traveled to Germany in December 2011 and then to Afghanistan, he continued to communicate with Santana and Deleon via Skype, helping them plan their own travel to Afghanistan. Santana and Deleon recruited a fourth man, Arifeen David Gojali. All three had been set to leave for Afghanistan on Sunday, but were arrested on Friday.Near a home on Rancho Jurupa Place in Pomona believed to be associated with Kabir, neighbor Bayani Reyes Jr., 31, said he was returning home from an evening nursing shift this weekend when he saw about eight unmarked cars parked along the cul-de-sac.
Federal agents were searching the house next door to his, Reyes said. They brought out numerous boxes and bags "as if they were moving," he said.
Reyes said numerous people have lived in the house, but he did not know them by name.
The house, in a quiet neighborhood where homes have well-tended lawns, has two Sea-Doos parked in the driveway. No one answered a doorbell Tuesday morning.
"They're very to themselves," Reyes said. "I wouldn't have had any idea I had an Al Qaeda neighbor getting arrested. You just never know."