Original article no longer available
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Nov 1, 2007
By KITTY CAPARELLA, email@example.com 215-854-5880
5 years possible
Agron Abdullahu thought he was going on vacation in northern Pennsylvania to show his friends how to shoot his Beretta pistol and Yugoslavian rifle at a firing range in January 2006, his lawyer said.
At the range, another friend, Serdar Tatar, allegedly provided more weapons: a Beretta rifle and a new shotgun.
Thirteen months later, Abdullahu returned to the same Gouldsboro, Pa., firing range with the same pals and same weapons, but this time, he had purchased 2,500 rounds of ammunition for everyone to shoot.
Yesterday, in U.S. District Court in Camden, Abdullahu, 25, admitted that showing his illegal-alien pals how to shoot wasn’t such a good idea – because the men later were accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix military base this year.
Abdullahu, a 1999 Kosovo immigrant legally residing in Buena Vista, Atlantic County, N.J., until his arrest, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid and abet possession of firearms by illegal aliens. In return for his plea, the government dropped a weapons charge.
Abdullahu is not cooperating with the feds, nor will he testify at the January trial, his attorney said.
Federal Public Defender Richard Coughlin said his client knew nothing about the Fort Dix plot, even after reporters asked about Abdullahu’s alleged warning to plotters:
“You would be crazy to attack the base.”
Coughlin said that he had not seen or heard that statement while reviewing evidence in the case. He maintained the case should be called the “Fort Dix Five – plus one,” because of his client’s lesser role.
Earlier, the feds described the plotters as “homegrown terrorists.”
As U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler quizzed the defendant about his plea, the 11th-grade dropout admitted that he’d had “a breakdown” about 18 months ago. He said he has been treated with an antidepressant, Effexor, and Klonopin, a drug for panic attacks.
But he said Klonopin has been unavailable at the Federal Detention Center, at 7th and Arch streets, where he is being held.
“If I don’t take the [Effexor] on time, I get headaches, my heartbeat goes high and I get antsy,” said Abdullahu, adding that he felt “nervous, but pretty good” yesterday.
Kugler ordered Abdullahu to remain in custody until a Feb. 6 hearing. The onetime baker in a Williamstown, N.J., supermarket faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, restitution, and three years’ supervised release.
If he violates conditions of his release, he’ll be returned to jail for two more years. He is also subject to being deported.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Abdullahu admitted he supplied the two firearms to three Duka brothers, Eljvir, 24, Drinan, 28, and Shain, 26, illegal aliens who lived in Cherry Hill, charged in the Fort Dix plot.
Abdullahu said Tatar transferred ownership of his two weapons to a third party, who stored them in Philadelphia.
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