Miami — Rafiq Abdus Sabir, a doctor, kept mostly to himself, neighbors remembered Monday. He lived in a gated South Florida community west of the exclusive town of Boca Raton with a woman and two children. The couple drove a black sport utility vehicle and white two-door sedan, and fixed up the garage of their rented villa to serve as the youngsters’ rumpus room.
Dan Kozan, an advertising consultant, had one encounter with his neighbor across the street when he moved into Villa San Remo three years ago, but it was enough. Kozan, 51, said he asked Sabir to move the cars of people visiting so Kozan could back out of his driveway more easily. The doctor, he said, ignored him.
“I’m friendly with most of the neighbors around here,” Kozan said. “Not him.”
Early Saturday, the FBI moved in and arrested Sabir, 50, as an alleged participant in a terrorist plot. Along with Tarik Shah, 42, a self-described martial arts expert who had been arrested the day before in New York, Sabir was accused of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda.
According to federal prosecutors, Shah agreed to train Islamic holy warriors in hand-to-hand combat techniques, while Sabir agreed to treat their wounds at a military base in Saudi Arabia…
According to the federal complaint, the result of a two-year sting operation, Shah and Sabir, both U.S. citizens, took an oath of loyalty to al Qaeda, the shadowy Islamic terror network blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and some of the violence focusing on the U.S. occupation in Iraq.
Federal prosecutors said Shah had searched for locations suitable for secret weapons training, at one point inspecting a warehouse on Long Island, and agreed to provide a curriculum for hand-to-hand combat training.
The government said the men engaged in multiple recorded conversations with a confidential source and an FBI agent posing as an al Qaeda operative. During the conversations, Shah also described how he and Sabir tried to get to training camps in Afghanistan in 1998 and said they were a “package” deal, Kelley said….
If found guilty of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.