By Rich Bockmann
The young Bangladeshi man who attempted to blow up the Federal Reserve last fall with a phony bomb supplied by the authorities faces life in prison after he pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Thursday, the prosecutor handling the case said.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, had arrived in the country on a student visa several months before moving into an apartment in Jamaica.
During his time in Queens he told an undercover agent about several targets he was considering attacking in the name of al-Qaeda, court documents show.
On Oct. 17, he and the agent drove a van with what he believed to be a 1,000 pound bomb inside to downtown Manhattan and parked it alongside the Federal Reserve Bank, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said.
Nafis was arrested when he went to a nearby hotel and tried to detonate the fake explosives with his cell phone.
He pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Thursday to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, a crime carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“As today’s guilty plea shows, the defendant came to this country not to further his studies, but to advance the goals of jihad,” Lynch said. “Once here, he devoted his energies to refining his plan to disrupt the U.S. economy and kill Americans, and attempting to recruit others to join him. Ultimately, he resolved to commit mass murder in downtown Manhattan through an attack on the New York Federal Reserve Bank, a symbol of America’s economy.”
“With diligence and determination, Nafis attempted to carry out his plan in the name of al-Qaeda,” the federal prosecutor added. “We are committed to protecting the safety of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands who work in New York’s financial district. We will not wait for our enemies to attack us before using the tools at our disposal to discourage, disrupt, and ultimately, detain them with lengthy terms of incarceration.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.