A Philadelphia man was arrested Thursday and charged in an alleged plot to provide support to an Uzbek terrorist organization that authorities say is engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Bakhtiyor Jumaev was arrested in his Port Richmond home, according to Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
Jumaev, a Philadelphia resident believed to be from Uzbekistan, is charged by complaint of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a terrorist organization.
He made an initial appearance in Philadelphia and has another hearing scheduled Tuesday. His lawyer Barnaby Wittels had no immediate comment.
”It's too early in the proceedings to really say anything,” Wittels said.
Authorities believe Jumaev sent money to an Uzbek refugee, Jamshid Muhtorov, who lived in Aurora, Colo., and was arrested in January in Chicago while traveling.
Muhtorov and Jumaev are also suspected of trying to participate in a “wedding” -- code for terrorist event or attack -- planned by the Islamic Jihad Union, FBI agent Donald Hale said in an affidavit.
The group opposes the Uzbek government and was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department following attacks on U.S. and Israeli embassies in 2004.
It claimed responsibility for attacks on NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, including a March 2008 suicide attack against a military post, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit.
Muhtorov was indicted on a charge of providing material support and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic Jihad Union. Prosecutors in court documents said Jumaev conspired with others in the alleged plot to support the organization. An investigation is continuing.
The FBI said Muhtorov communicated with a contact with the Islamic Jihad Union by email using code words, telling a contact that he was “ready for any task, even with the risk of dying.”
Muhtorov, a human rights worker, resettled in Colorado in 2007 with the help of the United Nations and the U.S. government.
He was arrested Jan. 21 in Chicago with about $2,800 in cash, two shrink-wrapped iPhones and an iPad as well as a GPS device. Prosecutors said he told FBI agents that he could barely support his family, let alone support terrorism.
Muhtorov's attorney, federal public defender Brian Leedy, said during a court hearing that Muhtorov denies the allegations and had been headed to the Uzbekistan region to visit family, including a sister who remains imprisoned in Uzbekistan.
The FBI said investigators intercepted cellphone calls between Jumaev and Muhtorov in which Jumaev said he envied Muhtorov's participation in the “wedding.”
“On or about Dec. 2 ... Jumaev called a known associate and told him that they better meet sooner rather than later, as the associate may not see Jumaev in this world anymore,” according to the affidavit.
Jumaev is also accused of sending $300 to Muhtorov through an associate's checking account, that Jumaev told investigators was the repayment of a debt.
The FBI said Muhtorov and Jumaev are close friends and that investigators had been investigating Muhtorov because of his communications with an Islamic Jihad Union website administrator.