By Rich Bockmann
Federal investigators said they arrested a 21-year old Bangladeshi citizen who had been living in Jamaica since January after he allegedly tried to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan Wednesday morning with phony explosives he purchased in an FBI sting operation.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, according to Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, which covers both Queens and Brooklyn.
Authorities said Nafis inadvertently tried to recruit an FBI source when he moved to the country earlier this year with the intent of allegedly forming a terrorist cell to carry out an attack.
Nafis allegedly considered several targets for his attack, including the New York Stock Exchange before deciding on the nearby Federal Reserve Bank, according to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney’s office.
The complaint said an undercover FBI agent supplied Nafis with 20 50-pound bags of bogus explosives and drove with him in a van to Lower Manhattan.
The two went to a nearby hotel, and after Nafis allegedly tried to detonate the device, he was immediately arrested, according to the authorities.
The federal prosecutor said the FBI made sure the NYPD was in the loop the whole time so that police would not attempt to stop Nafis as he tried to carry out his scheme.
“The defendant thought he was striking a blow to the American economy,” Lynch said. “He thought he was directing confederates and fellow believers. At every turn, he was wrong, and his extensive efforts to strike at the heart of the nation’s financial system were foiled by effective law enforcement.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.