First Member of 'Lackawanna Six' to Plead Guilty Leaves Prison

The first member of the so-called "Lackawanna Six" to plead guilty to attending an Al Qaeda training camp has been moved from prison to a halfway house in Detroit.

Faysal Galab, 32, was transferred from the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex on April 29, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said Tuesday.

Details about his new custody situation were unavailable. Ponce referred questions to the Community Corrections Office in Detroit, where two telephone messages were not returned.

Galab will be under the supervision of that office until Oct. 18, Ponce said.

Galab was among a group of young Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna, near Buffalo, arrested in September 2002 for attending Usama bin Laden's al-Farooq camp in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001.

He pleaded guilty in January 2003 to conducting financial transactions with a designated terrorist organization and was sentenced in December of that year to seven years in prison.

Guilty pleas from five co-defendants followed. Yahya Goba, Sahim Alwan, Shafal Mosed, Yasein Taher and Mukhtar al-Bakri remain in prison on charges of providing material support to a terrorist organization.

A seventh Lackawanna man believed to have attended the camp with the group, Jaber Elbaneh, remains at large as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorism suspects and is believed to be at large in Yemen.

For being the first in the group to plead guilty, Galab received the lightest sentence of the men. The others were sentenced to between eight and 10 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hochul, the lead prosecutor, said Tuesday that Galab fulfilled an obligation contained in his plea deal to cooperate with the government in terrorism investigations.

Court documents indicate Galab described how Al Qaeda members went about transporting trainees from their home countries to the camps, and how they concealed recruits' identity, put them up in guest houses and used cover stories to protect Al Qaeda training procedures.

After arriving at the camp in April 2001, Galab and other recruits were taught how to use handguns, military rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. They wore uniforms and filled in on guard duty. At one point during Galab's two-month stay, bin Laden arrived and spoke about attacking America, according to Galab's plea agreement.

Authorities have not said that he or the others knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that occurred months after their return to Lackawanna.

A telephone message was left with attorney Joseph LaTona, who represented Galab after his arrest. A woman answering the phone at Galab's old address said she believed a reporter had the wrong number.

The arrest of the group, which came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, shocked the Yemeni-American neighborhood where the men grew up, attended high school and had strong family ties.
Galab was married and had three children at the time of his sentencing. Before his arrest, he worked as an automobile wholesaler and was a part owner of a gas station in Lackawanna.