updated 3/31/2008 8:45:09 PM ET 2008-04-01T00:45:09

A man who admitted letting a group of accused terrorism plotters shoot his guns at a firing range was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler said Agron Abdullahu deserved more than the 10 to 16 months that sentencing guidelines call for because he knew the men were talking about violence against Americans.

"I am convinced that he is not as innocent as he'd like us to believe," Kugler said before imposing the sentence. "This is not a common, ordinary, technical violation of the law."

But the sentence was less than half the five-year maximum allowed. With time served and credit for good behavior, it's likely Abdullahu will be free before the end of the year. He could face deportation.

Abdullahu said he was sorry he let his friends use his weapons at a firing range in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007. He said he discounted their tough talk about hurting America.

"Not at any moment did I think they were actually going to do what they said," he told the judge.

Abdullahu, 25, was arrested last May with five men who are charged with conspiring to kill soldiers on Fort Dix.

Authorities said the other men — all of them, like Abdullahu, foreign-born Muslims in their 20s — were planning to sneak onto Fort Dix and attack soldiers there. No attack occurred at the New Jersey base, which is used mainly to train reservists heading to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though the group was dubbed "The Fort Dix Six," Abdullahu, a supermarket baker whose ethnic Albanian family escaped Kosovo when he was a teenager, always stood out. While the others are on track for a trial in the fall for charges including conspiracy to murder military personnel and attempted murder, Abdullahu pleaded guilty last year to a single, lesser charge.

Guns were owned legally
Abdullahu was charged with letting the brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka shoot two weapons that he owned legally. It is a crime to allow illegal immigrants like the Duka brothers to possess guns.

Abdullahu's public defender, Richard Coughlin, said the Dukas befriended Abdullahu about a year after his family arrived in New Jersey — landing initially at Fort Dix — as refugees in 1999. They would play soccer, work out, fish and drink together, Coughlin said.

But in the past few years, the Duka brothers became more devout — and more extreme — Muslims, Coughlin said. And Abdullahu, who worked 60- to 70-hour weeks in the bakery of a supermarket, drifted apart from them.

They still fished together occasionally, and he joined them for two wintertime vacations in the mountains, his lawyer said.

It was a videotape from the first one that first caught the attention of the FBI. Key evidence for the case came from the second one, in February 2007.

Authorities say they have recordings that show the men firing Abdullahu's guns on a range and shouting out for a holy war.

Coughlin said his client was not aware of some of what was said; he was at the other end of the noisy range and wearing earplugs. Coughlin also said Abdullahu left the trip early because he was frustrated by the way the Duka brothers were talking about violence all the time.

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