MIAMI (Reuters) - Two Pakistan-born brothers living in Florida have been arrested on charges of providing support to terrorists and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction within the United States, authorities said on Friday.
The men were charged in a grand jury indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Federal prosecutors allege the men, both U.S. citizens, provided money, housing, communications equipment and transportation as part of a conspiracy.
A statement from prosecutors said the brothers’ alleged goal was “to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States”. It did not elaborate and U.S. officials declined to go into details but said the arrests were not the result of a sting operation.
“The investigation is continuing and we just won’t be able to give those specific details at this time,” said Alicia Valle, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami.
“Any potential threat posed by these two individuals has been disrupted,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement.
The accused were identified as Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30. They were arrested on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale and made an initial appearance in federal court on Friday.
If convicted, each could face a potential sentence of 15 years in prison on the charge of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
The charge of conspiracy to use a weapons of mass destruction carries a potential maximum life sentence.
Additional reporting by Jane Sutton; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Tom Brown and Andrew Hay