Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American arrested over a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square was formally charged Thursday with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and terrorism. His indictment linked him to the Pakistani Taliban.
AFP - The Pakistani-American arrested over last month's botched car bombing in New York's Times Square was formally charged Thursday with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and terrorism.
Faisal Shahzad, 30, has been in custody since his arrest at New York's John F. Kennedy airport on May 3 as he was pulled off a flight to Dubai two days after allegedly leaving a Nissan Pathfinder packed with a homemade explosive device parked in the city's busy theater district.
The 10-count indictment handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury linked Shahzad to the Pakistani Taliban, saying he had received explosives training in Waziristan, a Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold on the Afghan border.
The indictment also alleged that Shahzad had received cash from co-conspirators who he believed worked for the group.
"The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad's attempted attack on American soil," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
"Our nation averted serious loss of life in this attempted bombing, but it is a reminder that we face an evolving threat that we must continue to fight with every tool available to the government."
The charges included attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, attempted use of a destructive device in a terrorist conspiracy and other conspiracy, explosives and weapons related charges.
The most serious charges carry mandatory sentences of life in prison if Shahzad is found guilty.
"After his arrest, Shahzad admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He also admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it," a criminal complaint said.
It alleged that he received the explosives training in Waziristan from trainers associated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a Pakistani militant group, in December 2009.
He allegedly received two payments sent from Pakistan by an unidentified co-conspirator -- one for 5,000 dollars and another for 7,000 dollars, according to the complaint.
He bought a semi-automatic nine millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in March and the Nissan Pathfinder, for which he paid 1,300 dollars cash in a supermarket parking lot April 24, it alleges.
Shahzad then bought components for an "improvised explosive and incendiary devices," loaded them in the Pathfinder, and on May 1 drove the sport utility vehicle to Times Square, where he "attempted to begin the detonation process," the complaint said.
A Times Square street vendor noticed the bomb fizzling in the back of an SUV allegedly parked there by Shahzad and alerted police, who evacuated the area.
A 53-hour manhunt ensued, ending with Shahzad's arrest as his plane was about to taxi for take-off from John F. Kennedy Airport to Dubai.
Shahzad was arrested last month, initially on just five charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
His arraignment by US District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum is scheduled for June 21.
Officials have said Shahzad has cooperated fully with investigators after repeatedly waiving his legal his Miranda rights, which protect detainees from incriminating themselves.
Date created : 2010-06-18