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South Jamaica woman sentenced for role in plotting terrorist attacks on U.S. soil: Feds

A South Jamaica woman, who plotted to attack the 2014 funeral of NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos in Glendale, was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison. (Photo by Bill Parry)

A South Jamaica woman who plotted to bomb the 2014 funeral of fallen NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, which drew an estimated 20,000 members of law enforcement to the Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, was sentenced Wednesday, June 16, in Brooklyn federal court to more than 16 years in prison for planning terrorist attacks in the United States.

Noelle Velentzas, 33, pleaded guilty in August 2019 to teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapons of mass destruction, according to federal prosecutors.

Velentzas and her co-defendant and roommate, Asia Siddiqui, lived on 104th Road in South Jamaica, where they taught each other chemistry and electrical skills directly related to creating explosives and building detonating devices, studied the explosives used in past terrorist attack including the Boston Marathon bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the 1993 World Trade Center attack; researched how to make plastic explosives and build car bombs; shopped for and acquired materials to be used in an explosive device; and assessed potential targets of an attack, focusing on law enforcement and military-related targets, federal prosecutors said.

Siddiqui, who graduated from York College, was sentenced in January 2020 to 15 years in prison.

When the two South Jamaica residents were arrested in 2015, law enforcement officers discovered “tools of the trade” for a terrorist attack in the home including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, car bomb instructions and jihadist literature, machetes and knives.

“The defendant expressed her support for foreign terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham by learning how to build bombs and other explosive devices and targeting members of law enforcement for terror,” Acting U.S. Attorney Mark J. Lesko said. “With the sentence imposed by the court, Velentzas has been held accountable for her crimes.”

While planning for attacks, Velentzas repeatedly expressed her support for promoting and waging violent jihad and her desire to commit acts of violence. Velntzas claimed that Osama bin Laden was her hero, and expressed praise for the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as Mohammed Shnewer, who was convicted of plotting a terrorist attack against members of the armed services at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

“With the sentence imposed by the court, Velentzas has been held accountable for her crimes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General John C. Demers said. “The attorney general recently reminded us that we must remain vigilant against threats from international terrorism, and we are grateful for those agents, analysts and prosecutors who were brought Velentzas to justice before she could carry out her plans.”

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