NEW YORK: An Albanian who had tried to travel from New York to Pakistan to join the jihad and “marry with the girls in paradise” pleaded guilty here Thursday to terror charges.
Agron Hasbajrami, 27, who lived in Brooklyn, New York, at the time of his arrest, is now facing up to 15 years in a US prison, the Department of Justice said, adding he has agreed to be deported after serving his sentence.
Hasbajrami wired more than $1,000 to terror groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and began emailing with a Pakistani militant.
Hasbajrami wrote that it was difficult to get donations from fellow Muslims when they discovered that the money was intended for jihad and that he wished to travel abroad to “marry with the girls in paradise.”
The Justice Department said in its statement that this was taken to mean he wanted to die as a martyr.
“If not for his arrest, he would have traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad and aim to kill American soldiers,” FBI assistant director Janice Fedarcyk said in the statement.
“Our mission includes not only preventing acts of terrorism here but also preventing would-be terrorists from going abroad to harm Americans.”
Hasbajrami was arrested in September 2011 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York while attempting to board a flight to Turkey.
His aim was to travel from there to Pakistan to join a militant group. He had a one-way ticket, and was carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear.
When police searched his home after his arrest, they found a note that said, “Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time.”
According to court documents, Hasbajrami is a permanent resident of the United States, where he had lived since 2008.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Hasbajrami’s guilty plea shows that police in New York are doing their jobs.
“The plea demonstrates that Brooklyn is no place from which to launch terrorist aspirations without the good chance of being captured and prosecuted,” he said in the press release. “Vigilance paid dividends again.”