AP Legal Affairs Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – A Pakistani-born man wanted to avenge the deaths of U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan by blowing up a New York City landmark but lacked the money and materials to carry out the plan, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said at a bail hearing that Raees Alam Qazi, 20, researched bomb-making techniques on Internet sites affiliated with al-Qaida, including one using Christmas tree lights, and the FBI recorded phone calls and conversations linking Qazi to a purported “lone wolf” plot.
“He fully intended to do this, and thankfully he didn’t have enough money,” Gilbert said. Referring to casualties in U.S. drone attacks, she added: “He wants to avenge those deaths and kill people.”
Qazi traveled to New York last month in hopes of getting a job to fund his terrorist plans, Gilbert said, but wound up sleeping in public transportation, a mosque and in restaurants, and riding a bicycle around the city looking for potential targets. He then decided to return home on a Greyhound bus and was arrested after arriving back in South Florida, she said.
Qazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who attended local Florida public schools, confirmed many elements of the plot in a statement to FBI agents after his arrest in late November, Gilbert said. Investigators also found bomb-making and related components at the Qazi family home in Oakland Park, as well as explosives research evidence on a computer used by Qazi.
Qazi is charged along with his brother, 30-year-old taxi driver Sheheryar Alam Qazi, with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a potential life sentence if the men are convicted of both counts.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman ordered Raees Qazi held without bail until trial, finding that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk. His older brother has already agreed to pretrial detention, but may seek bail later. A trial is likely many months away.
Gilbert said Raees Qazi was the intended operative, using either a suicide attack or a remote-control device to kill people in a crowded place such as New York’s Times Square, a Broadway theater or perhaps on Wall Street. The elder Qazi supported his brother financially and logistically with the knowledge that Raees was planning a terror attack, the prosecutor said.
In one conversation recorded by the FBI, Sheheryar Qazi compared his brother to a “lone wolf, like the Times Square bomber.” Gilbert said Sheheryar Qazi was referring to Faisal Shahzad, who unsuccessfully attempted to detonate a bomb at the New York landmark in May 2010. In another recorded conversation, Sheheryar Qazi says that his brother “wasn’t going to be in this world long.”
Raees Qazi’s attorney, Daniel Ecarius, tried to persuade the judge to allow his release on bail, noting that Qazi had made money by selling bicycles on the Internet, had no criminal past and had already relinquished his passport. Ecarius suggested Qazi could be released on house arrest with electronic monitoring, but Gilbert urged the judge to keep him locked up.
“He wanted to carry out an attack. If he is released from custody, he will,” she said.
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter:
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick