WASHINGTON – A man with links to a U.S.-based Muslim organization suspected of terror links was arrested in Johnson City, New York, after police discovered a massive weapons cache inside a storage locker he was renting.
Ramadan Abdullah, 64, an associate of the cult-like Muslims of America, or MOA, was arrested after attempting to steal ammunition from a local store. Police grew suspicious when questioning Abdullah and later obtained a warrant to search his rented storage locker.
The locker contained an alarming assortment of both arms and armor, including eight assault weapons, four loaded handguns, one loaded shotgun, two rifles, 64 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, flak jackets and thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to to the Broome County District Attorney’s Office.
Additional search warrants on other properties linked to Abdullah resulted in the seizure of another loaded handgun and some ammunition.
Abdullah has been charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, second degree; one count of criminal possession of a weapon, third degree; and criminal possession of stolen property, fifth degree.
It was not Abdullah’s first run-in with the law.
According to the Clarion Project, Abdullah has a history of accruing massive amounts of dangerous weapons. In 1977, he was previously arrested after a botched attempt to rob a Brooklyn candy store.
Police later searched Abdullah’s Brooklyn home and found 14 pounds of gunpowder, three pipe casings, fuses and chemicals used in bomb-making, such as potassium cyanide, sodium nitrate and aluminum nitrate. It was enough material to construct 50 bombs.
Abdullah was charged with possession of explosives, but the charge was drastically reduced to “minor misdemeanor weapons possession.”
“One police officer, speaking off the record, suspects Abdullah received the reduced charge because he ‘snitched’ on someone. But the officer still expressed shock that a murder and explosive possession charge could be reduced to a minor misdemeanor weapons charge,” said the Clarion Project.
Abdullah is heavily involved with the MOA, which was identified as a terrorist group in a 1999 U.S. State Department report.
He is an “elder” and often visits Islamberg, an MOA compound, to spend time with older members but does not live inside the commune. He’s also provided firearms instruction for MOA, writes the Clarion Project, citing confidential sources inside MOA.
A later FBI report warns that MOA “possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.”
Other members of MOA have been arrested for violence or apparent planned violence as well, such as two MOA members who were convicted of conspiring to murder Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian-American biochemist.
In 1983, an MOA member set off a bomb at the Hotel Rajneesh in Portland, Oregon, injuring two.
The MOA recently began a “campaign to secure the liberation of Kashmir” and has expressed solidarity with the Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri terrorist group.
The MOA’s publication, Islamic Post, carried an article in 2016 extolling the group as “freedom fighters.” Another article mourned the death of a Hizbul Muhahideen commander.