SAN DIEGO — An Indian-born U.S. citizen was sentenced Monday to more than five years in prison for his role in a plot to obtain and sell Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Ilyas Ali, 58, formerly of St. Paul, Minn. also was ordered to serve five years probation following his release.
Ali pleaded guilty in 2004 to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and hashish, and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Two other men both from Pakistan pleaded guilty to the same charges. Muhamed Abid Afridi, 32, also was sentenced to nearly five years in prison. Sentencing for Syed Mustajab Shah, 57, is set for June 19.
Ali admitted that he tried to sell five tons of hashish and a half-ton of heroin to undercover U.S. law enforcement officials in 2002 in exchange for cash and four shoulder-fired Stinger missiles, which he and the other defendants intended to sell to members of the Taliban. Such missiles could be used to shoot down airplanes, including commercial jets, flying at low altitudes.
According to prosecutors, Ali knew at the time that the Taliban was the same as al-Qaeda.
Of course, it isn’t, but they both have the same goal.