“U.S. ties smuggler to terror camp trip: Yemeni-American gets 3 years for role in cigarette smuggling ring,” from AP, :
BUFFALO, New York (AP) — A Yemeni-American businessman accused of helping pay for a group of men to travel to a terrorist training camp was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for his role in a cigarette smuggling operation.
Aref Ahmed was convicted in March 2004 on charges of money laundering and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.
Federal prosecutors say that Ahmed gave $14,000 to five members of the so-called Lackawanna Six and had tried to get his money back after learning some of the men left the al-Qaida camp without completing their training. Lackawanna is the upstate New York town where Ahmed and the six men lived.
Ahmed has not been charged in the Lackawanna case. The issue was raised as part of the government’s request to deny Ahmed bail.
Ahmed’s attorneys have denied the allegations.
The Lackawanna Six — Sahim Alwan, Faysal Galab, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Yasein Taher, Yahya Goba and Shafal Mosed — are serving sentences ranging from seven to 10 years after pleading guilty in 2003 to providing support to a terrorist organization.
Some in the group have said they received money from Ahmed, which they used to travel to the camp in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce said Tuesday.