Fort Dix Suspects Go to Trial

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2008 at 3:29 am

Last May, six  men were arrested in an attempted terrorist attack on the military base Fort Dix in Burlington County, New Jersey.  The men were arrested when they took a videotape of their weapons training to a Circuit City to convert the tape to DVD.  The tape showed the alleged terrorists shooting high-powered rifles and calling out words like “jihad” while praising Allah.  When the video was seen by a Circuit City employe, concern quickly grew, leading him to contact the Mt. Laurel, New Jersey Police Department. From there, Police alerted authorities of the tape and a full-scale investigation took place.  The FBI caught up with the suspects when they tried to purchase weapons from an FBI informant from Egypt.

On October 21, a video shown to the US District Court in Camden, New Jersey showed the plot’s leaders, Shain and Dirtan Duka, making the weapons purchase.  Later in the day the weapons were placed in front of a jury as the alleged terrorists went to trial.   The government points out the alleged terrorists as being inspired by Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to defend Islam in the United States. The Dukas, their other brother, Eljvir, Mohamad Shnewer and Serdar Tatar are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder of soldiers at Fort Dix and could face life in prison if convicted.

The defense of the alleged terrorists is focused on the fact that a hidden camera, planted in the Dukas’ Cherry Hill residence, never talks about any sort of attack, but rather points to the guns being used for trips to the Poconos to shoot high powered weapons.  While the tape does show the crew talking about their Pocono trips, other factors are hurting the defendants.

One of the Duka brothers drew a detailed map of the base and Fred Lang, a senior investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and an officer in the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia Joint Terrorism Task Force, testified that he helped develop the list of weapons that Omar would offer to Dritan and Shain Duka prior to the deal.  The weapons included things like grenade launchers and RPGs, which the Dukas did not ask for when they talked to the FBI informant.  These weapons were brought to the table because Shnewer, in separate recorded conversations with the informant, said that he would like to use them during the attacks. The defense claims the other weapons were placed there to bolster the government’s investigation but, with their purchase of the weapons, the Dukas & Co. look to have too much against them.  The men could face life in prison for the attempted murder of soldiers at Fort Dix.


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