Colorado Man Held In Terror Probe Indicted For Conspiracy 'To Use Weapons Of Mass Destruction'

By: CNN
By: CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Colorado man arrested in a U.S. terror probe has been indicted on a charge of conspiracy "to use weapons of mass destruction" against persons or property in the United States, the Justice Department said Thursday.

(AP)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Colorado man arrested in a U.S. terror probe has been indicted on a charge of conspiracy "to use weapons of mass destruction" against persons or property in the United States, the Justice Department said Thursday.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned a one-count indictment Wednesday against Najibullah Zazi, 24, a resident of Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

The department said FBI agents in Colorado arrested Zazi Saturday in a criminal complaint that said he "knowingly and willfully" made false statements to the FBI involving international and domestic terrorism.

In addition, others arrested included Zazi's father -- 53-year-old Mohammed Wali Zazi, also from suburban Denver, and Ahmad Wais Afzali, a 37-year-old Muslim cleric and funeral director from Queens in New York.

All three -- arrested late Saturday in what the Justice Department has said was a plot to detonate bombs in the United States -- had been charged with lying to federal agents during the probe of the alleged plot.

Originally from Afghanistan, Mohammed Wali Zazi is a naturalized U.S. citizen and Afzali and Najibullah Zazi are permanent legal residents. The Zazis were arrested in Colorado and Afzail was seized in New York.

The Justice Department is working to have Zazi transferred from Colorado to New York to be arraigned on the charge in New York. If convicted, Zazi faces a potential sentence of life in prison.

The one-count indictment alleges that between Aug. 1, 2008 and Sept. 21, 2009, Zazi "knowingly and intentionally conspired with others to use one or more of the explosives."

It said Zazi and others "traveled in interstate and foreign commerce, used email and the Internet, and that this offense and the results of the offense would have affected interstate and foreign commerce."

"We are investigating a wide range of leads related to this alleged conspiracy, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure that anyone involved is brought to justice," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted, but as always, we remind the American public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement."

A government detention motion that had been filed in New York and in Colorado said, "Zazi received detailed bomb-making instructions in Pakistan, purchased components of improvised explosive devices, and traveled to New York City on September 10, 2009 in furtherance of his criminal plans."

It said that Zazi traveled overseas to receive bomb-making instructions, conducted Internet research on explosives' components and made several purchases of components "necessary to produce TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) and other explosive devices."


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