NEW YORK–A federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York has returned a 10-count indictment charging Faisal Shahzad for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1, the Justice Department announced today.
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 United States on a commercial flight to Dubai. Shahzad was then charged in a five-count criminal complaint. On May 18, 2010, he was presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of the Southern District of New York. Shahzad is expected to be arraigned by Judge Cedarbaum on June 21, 2010, at noon.
“The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s attempted attack on American soil,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “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 filed today and the criminal complaint:
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, 2010, 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 2010, Shahzad contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website. Thereafter, on April 24, 2010, 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. In April 2010, Shahzad also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1, 2010.
On May 1, 2010, Shahzad 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. Thereafter, Shahzad abandoned the Pathfinder 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. 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 today charges Shahzad with 10 offenses which carry the following potential penalties:
- Count 1 – Attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, life in prison.
- Count 2 – Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, life in prison.
- Count 3 – Possession of a firearm during and in relation to a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, life in prison.*
- Count 4 – Attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, life in prison.
- Count 5 – Conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, life in prison.
- Count 6 – Attempted use of a destructive device during and in relation to a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, life in prison.*
- Count 7 – Transportation of an explosive, 10 years in prison.
- Count 8 – Conspiracy to transport an explosive, 10 years in prison.
- Count 9 – Attempted destruction of property by fire and explosive, 20 years in prison.*
- Count 10 – Conspiracy to destroy property by fire and explosive, 20 years in prison.*
* Counts three, nine and ten each carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison. Count six carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years in prison. If there are convictions for counts three and six, a sentence of life in prison is mandatory.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Today’s 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. This office will continue to work in lock-step 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.”
FBI New York Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Today’s indictment of Faisal Shahzad is 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. We will not let our guard down as we work to protect our city, our citizens, our visitors and our country.”
“Today’s indictment is a stark reminder that New York remains a terrorist target and that we must be vigilant to protect the City,” said Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner for the City of New York
The indictment was the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI’s JTTF in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, especially those JTTF members from the FBI and the New York City Police Department. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also made significant contributions to the case. Substantial assistance was also provided by the Justice Department’s National Security Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Districts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan R. McGuire, Randall W. Jackson, John P. Cronan and Jeffrey A. Brown of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.