The accused ringleader of a U.S.-based group that allegedly was plotting to wage "violent jihad" against Americans told an FBI agent he'd gone to terrorism training camps in Connecticut and Pakistan, the agent testified Tuesday.
Michael Sutton said at a bond and detention hearing in Raleigh that terror suspect Daniel Boyd, a suburban father in North Carolina, told him he attended the Connecticut camp in the late 1980s, along with three others in Pakistan.
Boyd, 39, said he learned how to engage in hand-to-hand combat and use military firearms during the training, The News & Observer reported.
Boyd appeared in court along with the six other suspects — including two of his sons — charged with plotting to kill people in the name of Islam.
Authorities are looking for an eighth suspect whom they've identified as 20-year-old Jude Kenan Mohammad of Raleigh.
Sutton testified that a 1989 ID card bearing the phrase "monotheism, jihad, power" in Arabic was found with Boyd indicating that he was a member of terror groups in Pakistan, The News & Observer said.
Boyd allegedly told the FBI agent that he believes Muslims have the duty to kill non-Muslims and non-believers, according to the paper. Audio was played, allegedly of Boyd saying, "The blood of Muslims has become cheap in the marketplace. It has become cheap because Muslims have abandoned the jihad."
Federal authorities said Boyd talked about loving jihad, fighting for Allah and loathing a U.S. military presence at Muslim holy sites.
Officials played recordings of Boyd talking to his family and to a witness about what authorities called plans to carry out attacks overseas.
"I love jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah," a voice identified as Boyd said on a recording played in the federal courtroom. "Muslims must be protected at all costs."
The suspects appeared in court in shackles and prison jumpsuits and waved to the crowd. Charged along with Boyd are his sons Zakariya Boyd, 20, and Dylan Boyd, 22; Hysen Sherifi, 24; Anes Subasic, 33; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21.
Boyd's wife, Sabrina, along with other family members were in the packed courtroom, though several were asked to leave because of limited space, according to the newspaper.
The men were arrested and charged last week with plotting to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country.
Sutton said Boyd wanted the men, including two of his sons, to engage in violent jihad, train on firearms and travel overseas. Sutton said Boyd repeatedly spoke of armor-piercing ammunition and a year ago told a witness about his dislike of the U.S. military being in some Middle Eastern lands.
"They're over there killing our brothers," Sutton quoted Boyd as saying.
The indictment names Boyd as the suspected ringleader, saying he bought guns and led the group. It says some of the men took trips over the past three years to Jordan, Kosovo, Pakistan and Israel to participate in the jihad plot.
Federal officials seized from Boyd's home and cars more than 27,400 rounds of ammunition, gas masks and a handbook on how authorities respond to acts of terrorism. Sutton said there was a trench dug under the Boyd's deck that a witness described as a place to hide weapons.
Boyd's wife has said her husband and two sons were not involved in any terrorist activity, and neighbors and friends were shocked last week to learn of the accusations.
Sutton, the FBI agent, said Boyd told authorities that during his time in Pakistan and Afghanistan two decades ago he battled Russians for 23 days when Soviet troops attacked a training camp he was attending.
Sutton said some of the men recently had scheduled trips, and that Zak Boyd said at some point that he planned to travel to the Bosnia area in search of a place for the family to relocate.
"I think that all of them are a risk to flight," Sutton said.
The eighth suspect, Mohammad, was detained in Pakistan in October after he was accused of trying to enter a militant stronghold near the Afghan border that is off-limits to foreigners.
Kenan's family said he was in the country to visit his Pakistani father.
Ejaz Khan, a police official in the region that had jurisdiction in the case, said Mohammad was taken into custody and booked on charges of weapons possession for allegedly carrying a dagger, and traveling without proper documents.
He was granted bail later that month and police have no record of him after that, Khan said.
Some said they believed the men were innocent or being unfairly targeted.
"Maybe there's some bad Muslims in there, but just because you have a head scarf and faith in your heart doesn't mean we're aliens," said 37-year-old Shagufta Syad. "I just want justice to be served. I'm here concerned as a Muslim, as an American, I need to know what's going on."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.