Two New Jersey men have been sentenced for their admitted roles in trying to join an armed Islamic group in Somalia with ties to al-Qaida.

Carlos Almonte (left) and Mohamed Alessa (U.S. Marshals Service)

A federal judge in Newark on Monday sentenced Mohamed Alessa of North Bergen to 22 years in prison, and Carlos Almonte of Elmwood Park to a 20-year prison term.

The two men, both in their 20s, pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiring to murder people outside the U.S. by trying to join al-Shabab, a designated terrorist organization.

Attorneys for the two men sought to portray them as troubled youths spurred to radicalism under the influence of a man who was an undercover police informant.

Federal prosecutors asked the judge to give them sentences lengthy enough to send a message to other would-be home-grown terrorists.


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