Two associates of accused bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi, who were arrested on Friday, January 8, are being held without bail after a federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted them on various charges that could send one of them to prison for life
Flushing resident Adis Medunjanin, 25, was arraigned in federal court on Saturday January 9, before Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky. He had been arrested shortly after midnight by FBI agents who were trailing him.
Medunjanin crashed into another vehicle on the Whitestone Expressway after driving at speeds reportedly approaching 100 miles per hour. After wrecking his car at the approach to the Whitestone Bridge, he reportedly attempted to evade officials from the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) on foot.
He was arrested after a short pursuit, taken to New York Hospital Queens for treatment of injuries he sustained in the crash, and then transported to JTTF headquarters.
The two-count indictment charges him with conspiracy to commit murder and receiving military-type training from a terrorist organization, both in a foreign country.
Conviction under the conspiracy count could send Medunjanin to prison for from 35 years to life. He was remanded to jail until a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday, January 14, when the federal prosecutor will reportedly seek a permanent order of detention.
Zarein Ahmedzay, 24, also of Flushing, was reportedly arrested in Manhattan, where he was driving a taxi. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded to jail by US Magistrate Judge James Orenstein on Friday, January 8, pending a bail hearing on Tuesday.
Feds are charging that Ahmedzay lied to agents between September 17 and 18, while they were investigating Zazi and the plot – if convicted, he could go to prison for eight years. Family members denied that the Afghan immigrant was involved in any wrongdoing.
According to court papers filed in his case, Zazi admitted to FBI agents that he had received training in weapons and explosives from Al Qaeda during a 2008 trip to Pakistan, although he has denied taking part in a bomb plot, and has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
According to reports, the three men, who all attended Flushing High School, had been under investigation last summer, leading to a federal bombing conspiracy indictment against Zazi in September. Medunjanin and Ahmedzay had remained under surveillance, according to reports.
Their apartments were among four searched in Flushing in the days before Zazi was arrested in Denver.
A United States citizen who is originally from Bosnia, Medunjanin’s apartment had been searched and his passport confiscated by FBI agents at about 3 p.m. on Friday, January 9 according to his attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb, who said the search warrant indicated the passport was sought as part of an investigation into a conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Gottlieb is objecting that he was denied access to his client, a Queens College graduate, for over 36 hours and seeking to have any statements Medunjanin might have made while in custody thrown out.
“After all these months, when I was hoping they had closed the book on him, it indicates that things are still percolating, and the family is very upset,” Gottlieb reportedly said before learning of the car accident and subsequent arrest.
“He did not do anything wrong,” Gottleib said, “and if the book isn’t already closed, it should have been.”
A detention memorandum filed in the Zazi case said he “and others flew from Newark Liberty International Airport to Peshawar, Pakistan.” The government is saying that Medunjanin and Ahmedzay were the two who went with Zazi where he received military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.