March 17, 2015 / 3:25 AM / 4 years ago

Two Californians sentenced in plot to kill U.S. troops: newspaper

(Reuters) - Two California men accused of training to carry out attacks on U.S. military bases and personnel in Afghanistan were sentenced to federal prison on Monday, the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper reported.

Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and Arifeen David Gojali was sentenced to five, the Press-Enterprise said. Vidriales and Gojali, both 24, also face a decade of supervised release after their sentences, the Press-Enterprise said.

Two other men, Sohiel Omar Kabir and Ralph Deleon, had previously been convicted in connection with the plot.

Prosecutors say trial evidence showed that Kabir introduced Deleon and Vidriales to radical Islamist theology in 2010 and, after traveling to Afghanistan in 2012, encouraged them to follow him there.

Later that year, Deleon and Vidriales recruited Gojali to join them overseas to commit “violent jihad,” according to prosecutors. Vidriales, Deleon, and Gojali conducted preliminary training in firearms at paintball facilities to prepare for militant training overseas, prosecutors said.

Deleon, Vidriales, and Gojali were arrested by the FBI in November 2012 while planning to drive to Mexico, from where they would fly to Afghanistan. Kabir was taken into custody by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.

A U.S. District Court jury in Riverside, California, found Kabir and Deleon guilty last September. Vidriales and Gojali had previously pleaded guilty and cooperated with authorities.

Gojali, of Riverside, is a U.S. citizen while Vidriales, of Upland, was a lawful permanent resident, born in Mexico. His application for citizenship in the United States is pending.

Kabir, who was born in Afghanistan, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Deleon is a lawful permanent resident and citizen of the Philippines.

Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Paul Tait

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