Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, Broward County, Florida-based brothers, were arrested Thursday on charges of helping suspected terrorists, a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida indicates. The pair, along with the suspected terrorists, was allegedly conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the United States. Raees Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Qazi, 30, were booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of conspiring to discharge a WMD and providing material support to terrorists. A bail bond has not yet been set. It is not yet known whether the defendants have hired a lawyer.
Reports say Raees Qazi and Sheheryar Qazi are two of several family members who moved to the United States from Pakistan in 2000. Prior to his arrest, Sheheryar Qazi worked as a cab driver in Broward County, Florida and lived in an apartment in the 2300 block of Northwest 33rd Street with his wife and a 1-year-old son, according to the press. According to the defendant’s family, Sheheryar Qazi provides not only for his wife and child, but for his parents as well, so his inability to work due to his incarceration poses an extreme problem for his family.
Reports did not indicate where Raees Qazi lives, except that he resides in Broward County. According to reports, he took classes at the Piper High School, located in Sunrise, and was unemployed at the time of his arrest. One report says Raees Qazi earned an income selling used bicycles.
According to investigators, the two brothers allegedly conspired to offer “materiel support and resources,” which included money, housing, communication equipment, and transportation, to people whom they reportedly believed was terrorists. This behavior began as early as July 2011 and ended before their arrest in November 2012, according to the press. The investigators also allege that the brothers had knowledge that the alleged terrorists had plans to detonate a weapon of mass destruction inside the United States, which is why the brothers face charges of conspiracy to detonate a WMD.
An FBI agent working within Miami commented on the allegations, saying, “To be clear, this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today’s indictment charges two individuals for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction.”
The brothers’ extended family is now speaking out on behalf of their kin. Another brother, 33-year-old Shoaib Qazi, described Sheheryar Qazi as a modest family man. “Sheheryar is the best one we have,” he said. “Never see him doing anything wrong. He has a nice, beautiful baby.” The brother went on to say that there was little likelihood that the man, who works as a cab driver and provides for two families, could afford to support terrorists.
According to Shoaib Qazi, the Qazi family sometimes pools money together to send to their relatives back in Pakistan. Over the years, they wired around $4,000, reports say. Shoaib Qazi speculated to reporters that perhaps investigators mistook that money for funds they believed were going to terrorists, when in fact is was for family.