Shahzad pleads guilty to Times Square car bomb plot
NEW YORK – A 30-year-old American who planned to detonate a car bomb in Times Square has pleaded guilty to all ten charges against him less than two months after his arrest at JFK Airport on May 3.
“Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to all counts of the 10-count indictment against him, for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1, 2010,” the Justice Department announced.
Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) on May 3, 2010, after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the U.S. on a commercial flight to Dubai.
“Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “We will not rest in bringing to justice terrorists who seek to harm the American people, and we will use every tool available to the government to do so.”
“This investigation included a combination of traditional law enforcement techniques and intelligence-based authorities, with men and women from a number of agencies working side-by-side in support of a common goal,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said there is no plea agreement between the government and Shahzad, and that the investigation is continuing. Shahzad is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and faces the possibility of several life terms in jail.
According to the indictment to which Shahzad pleaded guilty, statements made during today’s proceeding, and the criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:
In December 2009, Shahzad received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, from explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan.
On Feb. 25, 2010, Shahzad received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator (CC-1) in Pakistan whom Shahzad understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban. Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, 2010, Shahzad received an additional $7,000 in cash in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., which was also sent at CC-1’s direction.
On March 15, Shahzad purchased a semi-automatic 9 millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This rifle was found, loaded, in Shahzad’s car on the day of his arrest.
In April Shahzad contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website.
Shahzad and the seller of the Pathfinder agreed to meet in a supermarket parking lot in Connecticut, where Shahzad paid the seller $1,300 for the Pathfinder. During the same month, Shahzad also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1.
He drove the Pathfinder, loaded with the improvised explosive and incendiary devices, to Manhattan and parked the Pathfinder in Times Square in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. After parking the Pathfinder, Shahzad attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices.
He then abandoned the vehicle and returned to his residence in Connecticut.
On May 3, 2010, Shahzad drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport as he attempted to flee to Dubai. He was arrested later that same day at JFK Airport. After his arrest, Shahzad admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He also admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it.
The indictment filed against Shahzad last week charges him with 10 offences which carry life sentences.
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