Muslim Man gets 22 years for plotting Calif. attacks on Jews.
By Associated Press 2:38 PM PDT, June 23, 2008
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- One of four men accused of plotting from behind bars to attack military sites, synagogues and other targets in California was sentenced Monday to 22 years in federal prison. Levar Haley Washington, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to levy war against the United States and using a firearm to further the conspiracy.
Prosecutors said Washington used a shotgun to rob a Torrance gas station on July 4, 2005. He was part of a prison gang cell of radical Muslims that planned attacks in the Los Angeles area and intended to finance them through robberies, prosecutors said. Two co-defendants, Kevin James and Gregory Patterson, also pleaded guilty to the terrorism conspiracy charge and will be sentenced later this summer. A fourth man, Hammad Samana, was found unfit to stand trial and is being treated in a federal psychiatric facility, said Thom Mrozek, U.S. attorney's spokesman.Washington said the government had exaggerated the group's intent, but Carney disagreed, saying the "nature and scope of the terrorist acts ... are truly frightening."
Washington's attorney, Ellen Barry, did not immediately return a call Monday. Prosecutors alleged that the plot was orchestrated by Washington, Patterson and Samana at the behest of James, an inmate in Sacramento who founded the radical group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh. Washington converted to Islam and then tried to recruit other members, authorities said, including men who had no criminal records and could acquire weapons without suspicion. He and Patterson also robbed about a dozen gas stations to raise money for the attacks, Mrozek said.
Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh: Prison Profile (INSIDE SCOOP);
Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh was allegedly formed in the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, as an offshoot of the Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan, one of the largest Muslim religious sects in American prisons.
Reports have located them in Southern California, especially Folsom and Sacramento.
According to law enforcement officials, Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh is a radical Islamist prison gang, adhering to the philosophy of the Prophet Muhammad. The gang is also known as the "Assembly of Authentic Islam." The organization has been accused of putting forward a protocol by leader James meant to justify attacks on enemies of the Islamic faith, the U.S. government, Jews, Israel-supporters, and "infidels." Operations allegedly include robbing gas stations to raise start-up money for terrorist attacks.
Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh is labeled as a Security Threat Group, not a gang. Even without supposed ties to professional terrorist organizations, the Assembly of Authentic Islam was accused of hatching a complex terrorist plot from within prison walls, according to an FBI affidavit.
The prison gang was founded by Kevin Lemar James at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. James and another reputed senior member of the gang, Peter Amador Martinez, began to recruit prisoners "in a jihad against the United States."
James also trained a member named Levar Washington, just before he was set to be released. Washington was to recruit new members without criminal records, amass firearms and explosives, and carry out attacks on the United States. They also alleged to have robbed gas stations to raise money for the attacks. James, all the while, kept organizing the operation from within his prison cell at Folsom (Los Angeles Times, 1 September 2005). The targets for the operation included National Guard facilities, synagogues and the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, with the intention of "killing everyone at the target"
Since the investigation into the terrorist activities, the FBI has begun a "threat assessment" of inmates in prisons who may be believed to have been "radicalized" by other extremists inside prison walls.