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Haitian Among New York Jihad Suspects

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 22, 2009: A Haitian national accused in a New York terror plot suffered from paranoia, a leader at a Newburgh mosque said Thursday, hours after the migrant was charged along with three others in a terror plot.

Laguerre Payen was among four men charged in a White Plains Court yesterday with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.

But Hamin Rashada,  the assistant imam at Masjid Al-Ikhlas, where Payen and accused terror mastermind,  James Cromitie frequented, said Payen was on medication and had been to the mosque for counseling recently.

Rashada also said Payen was in jail for five months for something related to his immigration status and  was scheduled for another immigration hearing today at Federal Plaza in New York City.

Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the head imam of Masjid Al-Ikhlas, said Cromitie and Payen were loosely affiliated with the mosque and they occasionally attended Friday prayers there.

Payen, alias Amin or Almondo, along with Cromitie alias, Abdul Rahman, David Williams, alias `Daoud and Onta Williams, aka `Hamza,` were charged with plotting to detonate explosives near the Riverdale Temple and nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, New York, and to shoot military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York, with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles.

In their efforts to obtain weapons, the four allegedly dealt with an informant acting under law enforcement supervision, and the FBI and other agencies monitored their alleged actions up to the time of arrest, including providing an inactive missile and inert explosives to the informant for the defendants.

Federal prosecutors allege that in June 2008, an informant working with the FBI met Cromitie in Newburgh, New York where he explained to the informant that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and that he was upset about the war there and that many Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the United States Military forces.

Cromitie allegedly expressed interest in returning to Afghanistan and spoke to the informant about how if he, Cromitie, were to die a martyr, he would go to `Paradise.`

Cromitie also allegedly expressed an interest in doing `something to America.` The following month, Cromitie and the informant discussed the organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization based in Pakistan, with which the informant claimed to be involved, according to the indictment.

Cromitie also allegedly stated to the informant that he, Cromitie, would be interested in joining Jaish-e-Mohammed to `do jihad.`

Beginning in October 2008, the informant began meeting with Cromitie allegedly at a house in Newburgh, New York that the FBI had equipped with concealed video and audio equipment.

During meetings at this location, Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen apparently discussed their desire to attack certain targets in New York, including a synagogue in the Bronx and military aircraft located at the Air National Guard Base.

Cromitie allegedly asked the informant to supply surface-to-air guided missiles and explosives for the planned operations. The informant responded that he could provide Cromitie with C-4 plastic explosives.

Then beginning in April 2009, Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen allegedly selected the synagogue and Jewish community center they intended to target, and conducted surveillance, including photographs, of military planes at the Air National Guard Base.

In late April 2009, Cromitie and David Williams allegedly purchased a 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol for use during the planned terrorist operations.

At around the same time, Cromitie and David Williams allegedly traveled to the location from which they could shoot at the military planes using surface-to air guided missiles.

In early May 2009, Cromitie, David Williams and Payen apparently drove with the informant toward Stamford, Connecticut, to obtain what the defendants were told would be a surface-to-air guided missile system and three improvised explosive devices (`IEDs`) containing C-4 plastic explosive material.

The informant provided the defendants with a Stinger surface-to-air guided missile provided by the FBI that was not capable of being fired, telling the defendants that he had obtained it from Jaish-e-Mohammed. The informant also provided three IEDs that each contained over 30 pounds of inert C-4 plastic explosives, again telling the defendants that he had obtained them from Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Cromitie, David Williams and Payen reportedly transported these apparent weapons back to Newburgh. Two days later, Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams snd Payen allegedly met to inspect the `missile system` and the `explosive devices` and to further discuss the logistics of the operation.

Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen each are charged with one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the U.S., which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison.

Contacted on Thursday for comment, Consul General of Haiti To NY, Felix Augustin, stressed that the charges are only accusations.

But he warned other Haitian nationals, especially the young to `not be taken in by things or people they don`t understand.`

The latest terror allegation plot comes days after six Haitians and Haitian Americans were convicted of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower and a FBI building in Miami. – BY CWNN Staffer writers