Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Long Island Man Who Tried to Join al-Qaida Gets 25 Years in Prison

A Long Island man who plotted to join al-Qaida in Yemen will spend 25 years in prison.

Marcus Alonso Zea of Brentwood was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty in September to attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and to obstruction of justice.

Federal prosecutors say the 26-year-old flew to London en route to Yemen in January 2012. He was rejected by customs officials in Britain and returned to the U.S.

Once home, prosecutors say, Zea gave money to and instructed co-conspirator Justin Kaliebe on how to elude law enforcement surveillance.

Zea's attorney, Marc Bogatin, had argued for a 10-year prison term, arguing he never actually plotted a violent act.

"He never met a terrorist, never spoke to a terrorist and never plotted a violent act," Bogatin said.

Kaliebe also pleaded guilty. He faces a sentencing hearing next month.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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