A 25-year-old Long Island man has been arrested and charged with trying to join and provide aid to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; prosecutors say he planned to carry out violent actions overseas with the group, which is considered the one of the most active and militant wings of the terrorist organization.

According to court documents, Marcos Alonso Zea, also known as Ali Zea, was charged in Brooklyn Federal Court today with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, attempting to provide material support to terrorists, attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda and obstruction. Prosecutors allege that Zea, an American citizen, flew from JFK to London on his way to Yemen to provide money and other resources to Al Qaeda in 2011, but was sent back to the States. He then allegedly conspired with Justin Kaliebe, an 18-year-old former high school student from Babylon, LI, to take a similar trip in January 2013, giving him money.

Kaliebe was allegedly caught on tape claiming he wanted to join the“Yemeni army” and to kill “those who are fighting against the Sharia of Allah … whether it’s the U.S. drones or their puppets." He was also caught while trying to board a flight to Oman.

Prosecutors say that Zea had been under surveillance for months, and in April he caught wind of the investigation, allegedly attempting to destroy evidence on his computer's hard drive. "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, said in a statement. "When the defendant sensed investigators from the JTTF closing in, he engaged in a desperate effort to cover his tracks by attempting to destroy evidence—a tactic that only confirmed his violent aims."

Zea pleaded not guilty to his charges in Central Islip court this morning; his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Guatemala three decades ago and currently live in Brentwood, NY, maintain his innocence. "This is all lies. All fake. I raised my son, I know who he is," his mother, Sandra Zea, told Reuters. Zea was raised Catholic, but he began attending services at a nearby mosque a few years ago. His father says he told his family he converted to Islam last year. "I said 'Why? Why are you telling me this,?' And he said, 'I like the religion and religion is free," he told reporters.

Zea's mother says her son was questioned by authorities in January, had his computer seized and was under strict surveillance. "He’s a good, good guy—a good son, a good brother, a good person with anybody," she told NBC News. "I know my son ... I don’t understand what is going on here. I want this thing cleared."