Court documents revealed the twenty-five year old Zea wanted to join a branch of an Al Qaeda group that is highly active in the planning of terrorists activities. Zea is known to have attempted two trips to Yemen on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula to become a member.
The United States government also uncovered evidence that connects Zea with supporting Al Qaeda networks with financial support. Zea is also accused of attempting to destroy evidence on his own computers after he was aware of the government's investigation on his pro terrorist involvements. The Al Qaeda magazine 'Inspire' was located on the hard drive of one of the computers and a semi-automatic rifle was recovered from one of his friends. Zea gave the gun to the friend before he was to leave for one of his trips to the Middle East.
"Despite being born and raised in the United States, Zea allegedly betrayed his country and attempted to travel to Yemen in order to join a terrorist organization," said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Zea had intentions of joining Al Qaeda outside of the United States in order to commit murder in another country. His five count indictment includes, conspiracy to commit murder, obstruction of evidence and Justice and supporting a known terrorist organization.
According to Victoria Cavaliere of Reuters, 'Federal prosecutors said that in January 2012, Zea attempted to fly from New York to Yemen, but was intercepted by British customs officials while changing planes and returned to the United States. Having been foiled in his attempt to reach Yemen, he then helped an 18-year-old associate, Justin Kaliebe, attempt a similar trip in January 2013. Kaliebe was arrested while trying to board a flight to Oman and charged with trying to provide support to terrorists, according to court papers.'
Al Qaeda networks training and working in countries on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula were responsible for the attempted bombing of a Detroit bound passenger jet on Christmas Day, 2009
Zea's arrest came at his Brentwood, New York home 50 miles from Manhattan. His mother denied any involvement of her son in the joining of Al Qaeda.
News Sources: CBS NEWS; REUTERS VICTORIA CAVALIERE