READ THE ARREST AFFIDAVIT
Thirty-five-year-old Jamshid Muhtorov of Aurora is accused of trying to go overseas to fight for jihad.
The U.S. District Attorney's office says Muhtorov was arrested on Saturday at Chicago's O'Hare Airport by Denver FBI agents and Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force members.
Just after Muhtorov's arrest in Chicago, federal agents descended on his apartment complex at East Jewell Ave and South Dayton Street in Aurora.
Agents searched apartment 9-D for evidence. Neighbors say hardly anyone went inside Muhtorov's apartment. The FBI says he was on his computer and cell phone talking to a terror group and expressing his willingness and desire to carry out an attack.
Muhtorov is facing charges of attempting to provide material and providing material to a foreign terrorist organization, according to John Walsh, the U.S. District Attorney for Colorado.
Muhtorov, who also goes by Bumumin Turkistony and Abu Mumin, was arrested without incident.
Court documents show Muhtorov told suspected terrorists he was "ready for any task, even with the risk of dying."
Ben West is a tactical analyst for STRATFOR - a private think tank in Austin, Texas that monitors global terrorism.
West says the FBI is always searching for warning signs that someone wants to become a terrorist.
Federal agents red-flagged Jamshid Muhtorov when he began emailing the Islamic Jihad Union.
"They're tracking these people constantly. They are extremely anti-Western. Increased anger, increased animosity towards the country where he's living. That can be a warning signal," West said.
Muhtorov was a truck driver and his wife Nargiza Muhtorov is a housekeeper at a downtown Denver Hyatt.
According to court documents, Nargiza Muhtorov fought with her husband when he spoke of plans to leave his family and fly to Turkey.
He even told one of their children he would "see her in heaven."
Investigators say they searched Muhtorov's home in Aurora on Saturday after his arrest.
"It's pretty scary now. Now we're finding out what it is," Kevin Inman, a neighbor, told 9Wants to Know. "They said [the search] happened a few nights ago, and me and my wife have been just wondering what it was. We haven't been contacted or told anything, so we were really worried. My wife is going to be really worried now."
A former friend told the 9Wants to Know investigators she severed her relationship with Muhtorov because he became a religious extremist.
Fatima Iskenderova said Muhtorov's personality changed when he moved to the United States.
"When I see him [in Uzbekistan], he shave very nice. He finished at University of Uzbekistan. He was a lawyer. Good intelligent man. When he come to United States, he start big beard. Change clothes, you know, he talking different," she said.
If he is convicted of the charges, Muhtorov faces up to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Muhtorov appeared in a Chicago U.S. District Court Monday morning.
West says Muhtorov was arrested early, before he had enough training to carry out an attack.
"He doesn't know how to build a bomb. He doesn't know how to plan a terrorist attack. He just has the desire. It's these kinds of early arrests that really nip future attacks in the bud," West said.
According to Walsh, Muhtorov is an Uzbekistani refugee who pledged allegiance to the Islamic Jihad Union, a Pakistani-based terrorist organization that "adheres to an anti-western ideology, opposes secular rule in Uzbekistan, and seeks to replace the current regime with a government based on Islamic law." The group has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in Uzbekistan along with attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.
"Muhtorov allegedly has sworn allegiance to the IJU, stating he was ready for any task, even with the risk of dying. The alleged activities of Muhtorov highlight the continued interest of extremists residing in the United States to join and support overseas terrorists," Walsh said in a news release.
Investigators say Muhtorov was not suspected of plotting against any targets in the United States. Walsh says Muhtorov was planning to fly overseas to fight with the IJU.
A long-term investigation by the FBI's Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force culminated in Muhtorov's arrest.
In the federal affidavit, investigators say they heard Muhtorov refer to "a wedding" and a "wedding gift." The CIA has known al-Qaeda used "the wedding" as a code for terror operations since before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Not much of a "code word" at this point.
The feds' wiretap also overheard Muhtorov arguing with his wife several times -- at one point telling her "choose me or your mother."
The feds say Muhtorov's terror mentor of sorts, a guy they call Abu Muhammed, encouraged Muhtorov to broaden his view of jihadist targets saying that Allah "permits jihad against hypocrites and ignorant people" not just against infidels.
In the past few years, 9Wants to know has investigated three cases of terrorism involving people in Colorado, including Muhtorov.
9Wants to Know learned in 2009 that Najibullah Zazi told FBI agents he wanted to set off bombs in the New York subway because he was unhappy with the U.S. government's use of predator drones, which he says have killed women and children, during operations to hunt members of al-Qaeda.
Zazi, now 26, lived in an Aurora apartment near E-470 and Smoky Hill Road as he planned his attack.
Aurora security camera footage surfaced, capturing him buying hair products that can be used as ingredients in bombs.
Agents found traces of bomb-making residue inside an Aurora hotel room which Zazi rented near Interstate 225 and Iliff Avenue.
The FBI says Zazi also admitted he trained in Pakistani terrorism camps when agents questioned him before his arrest in September 2009.
Had Najibullah Zazi succeeded with his plan, investigators say thousands of people would be dead or injured and New York City's subway system could have been shut down.
The FBI describes Najibullah Zazi's plan as the most significant terrorism plot it has investigated since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mohammed Wali Zazi
Zazi's father pleaded not guilty to visa fraud charges in September 2011.
Mohammed Wali Zazi entered the plea in federal court in Manhattan. He appeared by video conference from Colorado, where he lives.
Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty to terror charges in a foiled 2009 plot to attack the subways with two friends after they received al-Qaida training.
The elder Zazi was convicted in July in a separate case in Brooklyn accusing him of destroying evidence and lying about the terror plot.
The new charges accuse him of lying on immigration papers by saying his nephew was his son.
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, a Colorado woman, admitted in March 2011 that she helped a terrorist cell that hoped to incite Islamic holy war, and her lawyer said she was "part of something that was much larger, much more complex than she ever knew." Paulin-Ramirez, 32, of Leadville, Colo., conspired with others to get military training in South Asia and moved to Ireland in 2009 to join the group, federal prosecutors said.
Court papers released in March 2011 gave a glimpse of the goals of the Algerian man she married in Ireland. Her husband sought to recruit "brothers & sisters" to train with the group known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, prosecutors said; the group is an al-Qaida offshoot that has focused its efforts inside Algeria and has never attempted an attack on the U.S.
The documents also say he wanted to recruit people to train with Pakistan's lead intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence. The agency, while a sometimes unreliable ally for the U.S., is also an essential partner for combating terrorism inside Pakistan.
Shortly after arriving in Ireland in September 2009, Paulin-Ramirez married him in an Islamic ceremony. The couple had never before met in person. She knew the marriage, along with her Western looks and passport, would prove useful to the group, prosecutors said.
Paulin-Ramirez was charged in the same case as Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who dubbed herself "Jihad Jane" in a YouTube video that caught the attention of the FBI in 2009. LaRose, 47, of Pennsburg, pleaded guilty in February 2011 to more serious charges, admitting she had agreed to try to kill a Swedish cartoonist who had offended Muslims. She faces a life sentence.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)