Times Square suspect indicted in terrorist plot

Grand jury returns 10 counts

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A federal grand jury in New York on Thursday returned a 10-count indictment accusing Faisal Shahzad of attempting to “wreak death and destruction” with a bomb he placed May 1 in a car he parked in Times Square, the Justice Department said.

Mr. Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3 after he was identified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents as he attempted to leave the United States on a commercial flight to Dubai.

“Todays 10-count indictment returned in the Southern District of New York charges Faisal Shahzad with conspiring with the Pakistani Taliban to wreak death and destruction in Times Square,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York.

“This office will continue to work in lockstep with our partners at the FBI and the NYPD to protect New York City from the threat posed by terrorists and those who would support them,” he said.

According to the indictment, Mr. Shahzad drove his Nissan Pathfinder loaded with improvised explosive and incendiary devices on May 1 to Manhattan and parked it in Times Square. It said he attempted to begin the detonation process, then abandoned the vehicle and returned to his residence in Connecticut.

On May 3, the indictment said, Mr. Shahzad drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport, where he attempted to flee to Dubai.

He was arrested later that same day at JFK. After his arrest, federal and New York authorities said Mr. Shahzad admitted he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan and also admitted that he had brought the SUV to Times Square and attempted to detonate it.

“The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzads attempted attack on American soil,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. “Our nation averted serious loss of life in this attempted bombing, but it is a reminder that we face an evolving threat that we must continue to fight with every tool available to the government.”

According to the indictment and a separate five-count criminal complaint:

  • Mr. Shahzad received explosives training in December in the Pakistani province of Waziristan from explosives trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan. On Feb. 25, he received $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator in Pakistan and an additional $7,000 from the same source on April 10 in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
  • On March 15, Mr. Shahzad purchased a semiautomatic 9 millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This loaded rifle was found in Mr. Shahzads car on the day of his arrest.
  • In April, Mr. Shahzad contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website, later paying the seller $1,300 for the SUV. That same month, he also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the vehicle on May 1.

The indictment accused Mr. Shahzad of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, possession of a firearm during and in relation to a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.

Also, attempted use of a destructive device during and in relation to a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, transportation of an explosive, conspiracy to transport an explosive, attempted destruction of property by fire and explosive, and conspiracy to destroy property by fire and explosive.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

FBI acting Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos in New York described the indictment as a “major step in this important investigation.”

Shahzad was allegedly ready to commit a horrendous crime in the heart of New York. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) quickly went into high gear to identify and arrest Shahzad,” Mr. Venizelos said. “We will not let our guard down as we work to protect our city, our citizens, our visitors and our country.”

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