Ralph Deleon, 23, was arrested Monday in connection to a terrorist plot that was foiled by federal officials. Deleon and three others were apprehended on Friday without incident by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and had their initial appearance before a federal magistrate yesterday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Riverside.
Enedina Garcia, who speaks very little English, said she didn't really talk to Deleon but they always greeted each other. In recent years, Garcia said she noticed that Deleon exercised a lot and could always been seen running around the neighborhood early in the mornings.
"I'm so surprised, I had no idea. I knew he had recently changed his religion but I didn't think he would do something like this," she said. "He looked like a good boy."
Both Garcia and Dilma Mora said they had no idea why FBI agents were at the home in the 300 block of Manzanita Court for nearly seven hours -until today.
"I knew it had to be something big," Garcia said.
Mora who lives across the street and a couple houses down the street from the Deleon residence was also shocked by the news but said she had a gut feeling the FBI were there for a terrorism-related incident.
At one point, that FBI agents, who were wearing gloves, took a couple of boxes from the home and loaded them into a white van, she said.
Like Garcia, Mora said she had seen some subtle changes in Deleon such as he attire and his circle of friends. There were several times in the last couple of months in which she noted Deleon hanging out in front of his home with friends who appeared to be Arabic.
"One time I saw him get on his knees and kiss the floor before he got in his car," she said.
A look at his Facebook account, which uses one of his aliases Rafiq Abdul Raheem, sheds a little more insight on Deleon's future plans.
On Nov. 5, he posted a link to Craigslist attempting to sell his 2004 Nissan Altima. In the post, he was asking for $7,000 and indicated that he would probably accept any offer.
On Nov. 7 Deleon wrote on his Facebook page "No matter how reclusive we tend to be, we picture the after-life as a community of souls. It is one thing to seek privacy in this life; it is another to face eternity alone."
That same day he changed his cover photo to an image of a black-and-white cat with the wording "f-- the police."
He also shared a series of Youtube videos, including a "Why I Hate Religion, but love Jesus," which is a Muslim version, as well as a video from Mos Def called "Leaving on A Jet Plane." The last video was posted on Nov. 14, just two days before he was apprehended by the FBI.
His Facebook account also provides more insight on Deleon's life such as a photo of him with a hookah, and several photos around Los Angeles. It also states that he currently lives in Los Angeles and graduated from Cal State San Bernardino in 2011.
His last post was an update of his cover photo of himself with a female who he describes as his "zuoja" which can be translated as "her husband."
His status says he is married but he does not state to who. According to his account, Nov. 20 is their anniversary.
Both Mora and Garcia, who described their cul-de-sac as quite, said the FBI agents were at the home betweeb 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
"We've never even had police come to our street," Mora said.
The women said the Deleon's seem like a nice family but they pretty much kept to themeslves. Most of the families who live in the street are the homeowners, the Deleon's have been renting the home for the past three or four years, the women said.
Garcia said she was outside, gardening, Friday morning when about 10 FBI agents walked past her home to Deleon's family residence.
"I just froze, I didn't know what to do," she recalled.
Garcia said one of the female FBI agents motioned her to go inside. They remained there for several hours.
"I feel bad for the parents. He was a good boy," Garcia said.