WRAL Investigates

Wake terrorism investigation built over weeks

Posted March 20, 2014

— Planes linked to a company with FBI connections circled a north Raleigh neighborhood for weeks before a Wednesday raid that resulted in terrorism charges against two men.

Authorities said in court documents that Akbar Jihad Jordan and Avin Marsalis Brown planned to travel to Syria and Yemen to fight for Islam. Federal law prohibits conspiring to kill or maim people outside the U.S.

FBI agents seized several weapons, including an AK-47 rifle and a sword, along with ammunition from the apartment off Gresham Lake Road that Jordan, 21, shared with his mother.

Airplanes equipped with electronic monitoring equipment have been circling the area where Jordan lives for about a month, flying the same path for up to eight hours a day.

WRAL Investigates tracked the planes' registrations to a company known to have ties to the FBI. Airplanes belonging to the company and its known affiliates were also spotted in Boston in the days following the marathon bombing last April.

Radar records for every plane connected to or owned by the companies with FBI connections were searched, and two clearly showed a circular flight path. It's unclear whether those flights are connected to ongoing investigations.

FBI agents moved on the alleged conspiracy involving Jordan and Brown this week because Brown, 21, was about to leave the country, court records show.

Brown was arrested Wednesday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and he told investigators that he planned to fly to Turkey and then travel to Syria, according to court records. He made his first court appearance Thursday morning.

One person was taken into custody during the north Raleigh raid, but it's unclear whether it was Jordan.

A motion filed in federal court noted that Jordan, who is listed as Akba Jordan, is in a hospital, but it's unclear what he's being treated for and which hospital is treating him.

Confidential informants told the FBI that Brown and Jordan, a 2011 Millbrook High School graduate, began talking last May about going overseas to engage in jihad. Jordan "functioned as a type of physical fitness, firearms and tactics instructor to Brown" and often displayed a cache of weapons and ammunition in his apartment, records state.

Jordan even stated at one point that he slept on his kitchen floor with an AK-47 and a Quran to empathize with Muslims in Syria.

The pair planned to use a charity as a cover for their travels, saying the government would have a hard time making a terrorism case against them if they argued they were on a charitable mission overseas, according to court records.

WRAL Investigates discovered that Jordan visited at least two Facebook pages about humanitarian work in Syria, asking how difficult it would be to travel there.

The case is similar to that of Basit Javed Sheikh, a Cary man accused of planning to fight in Syria for a group linked to al-Qaida. The FBI arrested him at RDU in November after he told people he wanted to be a martyr for Islam.


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  • disgusted2010 Mar 21, 2014

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    Its terrible people wearing those scary uniforms and using scary planes and scary guns. Perhaps in your utopia these things are not needed and IF something bad were to happen officer friendly will come by and hold your hand and sing uplifting songs with you. In the real world we have moved on to using modern technology to prevent those bent on killing us just because we believe differently. You can go back to your computer and let the adults protect you while you exercise your constitutional rights to complain and fight everything that keeps you safe and able to exercise those rights that you yourself would never fight for.

  • Brian Jenkins Mar 21, 2014

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    Who counted all those bodies?

  • jwbmom1965 Mar 21, 2014

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    You are so right, Makes me sick we give all these countries that hate our guts all of our money, Americans should have a say so if one red cent leaves here. Time for all elected officials to go!!!!!! New blood, Ben Carson for president

  • jwbmom1965 Mar 21, 2014

    put them on a ship 100 miles out, sink it and see them make it back. Ship them all out

  • knbrown13 Mar 21, 2014

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    What in the world are you talking about?

  • Joseph Smith Mar 21, 2014
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    Crazy. Should have let them go. Not let them return... if they were still alive. What waste of taxpayer dollars.

  • Derric Fuller Mar 21, 2014
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    In the wrong hands, religion can hurt, surely, however, so can science. Germany, at the time the most scientifically rational nation, used its proud techno-superiority to bring us two world wars and the Holocaust. In addition, two non-religious "scientifically based" communist societies, the Soviet Union and China, created a body count 10 times that of the Holocaust on their own people. Then, of course, who can forget the saintly quest to scientifically purify the races with eugenics? Just because you abhor or don't have any ethics that are religion-based, don't assume to lay all of the world's ills soley on religion.

  • Brian Jenkins Mar 21, 2014

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    Religion is the biggest killer. Government is next. Humans are addicted to both. Its so weird.

  • euimport1 Mar 21, 2014

    religion kills. a simple fact of life. always has, forever will.

  • iopsyc Mar 21, 2014

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    There are plenty of moral and practical reasons to prevent people from going into other countries and killing their citizens.

    Also, that's not how a jury is supposed to work, so I hope you're never called for jury duty...ever.