NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison for trying to travel to Yemen to join an Islamic militant group and providing money to an associate to do the same after his initial plan failed, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Marcos Alonso Zea, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein in Central Islip, New York.
He pleaded guilty in 2014 to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and obstruction of justice.
The sentence was what prosecutors had sought for Zea, who was arrested in October 2013 at his Long Island home after an investigation by local and federal authorities.
Zea, raised Roman Catholic, converted to Islam after traveling to London, his parents said after his arrest.
In January 2012, Zea attempted to fly from New York to Yemen, prosecutors said. While changing planes, he was intercepted by British customs officials and returned to the United States.
His trip foiled, Zea encouraged and supported Justin Kaliebe, then 18, who was attempting a similar trip to Yemen in January 2013, prosecutors said. Kaliebe was arrested and later pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He has not yet been sentenced.
During a raid of Zea's house, prosecutors said, authorities found copies of al Qaeda's "Inspire" magazines as well as other electronic evidence indicating al Qaeda ties.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Christian Plumb)