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Ex-Houstonian linked to al-Qaida pleads guilty

Ex-Houstonian linked to al-Qaida pleads guilty

Author: Cindy George
Publication: Houston Chronicle
Date: April 19, 2007
URL: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/4731058.html

Former Houston resident Daniel Joseph Maldonado pleaded guilty today to participating in an al-Qaida training camp in East Africa, federal prosecutors said.

Maldonado, 28, was the first American charged in connection with an attempt to establish an extremist Islamic state in Somalia.

He also used the name Daniel Aljughaifi, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Maldonado, who was charged with receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization, agreed to plead guilty to the government's criminal complaint in exchange for an agreement that prosecutors would not file any other charges against him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.

Details of the agreement are not available because it is sealed.

Federal officials would not comment on whether Maldonado has provided information that will lead to other terrorism arrests and prosecutions.

Maldonado is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29. He could be ordered to prison for as long as 10 years.

Maldonado, a Muslim convert and blogger under the name Daniel Aljughaifi, came to Houston from Boston for a short time in 2005 to work for the Houston-based IslamicNetwork.com, a Web site frequented by terrorism suspects.

A few months later, he and his wife, Tamekia, moved to Egypt with their two children. His wife, who had the couple's third child in Egypt, died overseas of malaria.

While fleeing Somalia in January, Maldonado was captured by Kenyan soldiers who turned him over to FBI agents for interviews.

During that time, he penned statements in which he confessed going to training camps to prepare for jihad, or holy war.

Maldonado was brought back to Houston by U.S. officials in February.

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