FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward Sheriff’s Office has released mug shots of two South Florida brothers accused of having ties to terrorism.
Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30, and 20-year-old Raees Alam Qazi, were charged Friday with plotting to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors said the two are naturalized U.S. citizens originally from Pakistan, but have lived in South Florida for years. They were arrested at their Oakland Park apartment Friday and remain jailed without bond.
Family members said the brothers would never hurt anyone.
“Everybody is shocked like what the hell is going on? We work here we don’t do nothing wrong,” said a third brother who wouldn’t give his name.
He described Sheheryar as a family man and not someone who had grand plans of building a bomb with his brother like sources told CBS4 News.
“He drives taxi everyday he comes home plays with him [his baby] he has a beautiful wife,” he said, adding his younger brother Raees is looking for work.
“The younger one is also the same he never harm anybody he help anybody anything somebody needed,” he said.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy lasted from at least July 2011 through November 29, 2012. However, a source said the arrests were not the result of a sting operation.
The indictment said the defendants conspired to give material support and resources including property, services, funding, lodging, communications equipment, personnel and transportation in the conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said the brothers planned on using the weapon of mass destruction, a destructive device, inside the United States.
A source told CBS4’s Jim DeFede the weapon of mass destruction “was not biological, chemical, or radioactive.” Rather, it was a “home-made” type of device.
The source said the FBI decided to move abruptly against the two men because, “there was a serious threat” posed by them and they appeared ready to carry out an attack here in South Florida. There were specific targets in mind; but the source wouldn’t identify them as the investigation is ongoing.
The source also said “at no time was South Florida at risk because we were on to it.”
The unidentified brother would not speculate about why his brothers were arrested but insisted they have no connection to terrorism.
“I know my brothers are innocent, they never did anything wrong, we live together we try to make a life here every day,” he said.
The source told DeFede the brothers may have been acting on their own, but officials are looking to see if they are part of a larger organization.
Federal authorities were trying to determine who the men may have been tied to when the possibility of an attack forced them to make the arrest.
An arraignment and bail hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.
They could face up to 15 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to life in prison on the weapon of mass destruction charge.