MANILA, Philippines – Two American brothers arrested in the Philippines last year for alleged ties to Al Qaeda (search)-linked groups were deported to the United States, immigration officials said Monday.
Authorities alleged that James Stubbs met with members of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf (search) as well as the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The brothers had been under surveillance at the time of their arrests, and had entered the country on tourist visas. But they also carried documents indicating that they were soliciting funds to build Muslim schools and mosques, officials said.
Authorities said there was no evidence linking the men to any past or planned terrorist plots.
Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. said the brothers were deported to Japan on Saturday, where U.S. marshals escorted them on a flight to the United States.
Relatives of the men confirmed they have returned to the San Francisco Bay area.
In December, FBI agents said they were investigating Michael Stubbs to determine if he had access to sensitive information while working in the 1990s as an air conditioning and heating technician at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (search).
According to Philippine military intelligence reports, James Stubbs left his job as a teacher in California to study Arabic in Sudan. He met last May with several charity groups suspected of being Al Qaeda fronts, founded by Mahmoud Afif Abdeljalil — believed to be a close associate of Usama bin Laden's brother-in-law.
Abdeljalil was arrested last September in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga on charges of having an expired visa. He was ordered deported after interrogation.