By Howard Koplowitz
Nearly a year after they were indicted with plotting to blow up a fuel tanker at John F. Kennedy International Airport connected by a pipeline running through Queens, three suspects in the case were extradited to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago last week to answer the charges.
Kareem Ibrahim, 63, of Trinidad and Tobago and Abdul Kadir, 56, and Abdel Nur, 58, both of Guyana, pleaded not guilty to the terrorism plot in Brooklyn federal court June 25 before Federal Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollack, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District.
Bail for the three suspects was remanded, Nardoza said.
A fourth man, Russel Defreitas, of Brooklyn, the plot's alleged mastermind, has been held without bail since June 2007, when federal authorities arrested him in a Brooklyn diner near Howard Beach.
Defreitas, Kadir and Nur are Afro-Guyanese while Ibrahim is Trinidadian. They were all arrested in Trinidad and Tobago last year and had been held in a jail in the Caribbean nation.
A judge in that country ordered that the men be extradited to the United States in February, but the suspects fought the ruling. An appeals court upheld the decision late last month.
A seven-page indictment unsealed last year charged the men with planning to blow up a tanker inside a fuel farm at Kennedy “with the intent to cause death, serious bodily injury and extensive destruction.”
The tanker is connected to a pipeline system that runs primarily underneath Howard Beach.
As the plot was made aware to the public, Buckeye Pipeline Co., a Pennsylvania-based company that owns the pipe system, assured Howard Beach residents that an explosion would have been nearly impossible to execute.
The company said oxygen would be needed to cause an explosion and the pipes are so secure that air could not penetrate them.
Buckeye also said the pipe system has several layers of security, including automatic shut-off valves that can close a portion of the pipe if there is a problem.
The next court appearance for Ibrahim, Kadir and Nur is scheduled for Aug. 7 in Brooklyn federal court.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.