One of two associates of accused bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi, who was arrested on Thursday, January 8, is being held without bail after a federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted him for lying to FBI agents during the investigation into the bomb plot last September.
Flushing resident Zarein Ahmedzay, 24, 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.
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.
Feds are charging that Ahmedzay lied to agents between September 17 and 18, while they were investigating Zazi and the plot. Family members denied that the Afghan immigrant was involved in any wrongdoing.
The second man, Adis Medunjanin, 25, also a Flushing resident, was arrested shortly after midnight on Friday, January 8 by FBI agents who had been trailing him. Medunjanin reportedly crashed into another vehicle on the Whitestone Expressway.
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.
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., 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.
“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.” He reportedly said that he was kept from his client and that any statements made up until then would be inadmissible in court.
According to reports, the three men, who all attended Flushing High School, had been under investigation, leading to a federal bombing conspiracy indictment against Zazi in September. Medunjanin and Ahmedzay have remained under surveillance, according to reports.
Their apartments were among four searched in Flushing in the days before Zazi was arrested in Denver.
A detention memorandum filed in the Zazi case said he “and others flew from Newark Liberty International Airport to Peshawar, Pakistan.” A “law enforcement source” reportedly said after the arrests that Medunjanin and Ahmedzay were the two who went with Zazi where they received military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.
According to Robert Nardoza, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell, “two men arrested by the FBI were expected to be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.”
There was no word as to Medunjanin’s status as of 5:30 p.m.