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One of the Guyanese men arrested on charges of plotting to blow up the gas tanks and pipelines that feed into John F. Kennedy International Airport pleaded guilty last week in Brooklyn federal court for his role in the thwarted scheme, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District said.
Abdel Nur, 60, faces up to 15 years in prison for providing material support to the terrorists who were trying to destroy the airport and parts of Queens, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said. The three other men, who include a former JFK cargo handler and a former member of the Guyanese parliament, went on trial in Brooklyn June 30.
Nur, who was arrested in June 2007 in Trinidad at the same time as his alleged accomplices, reportedly gave “material support” to the suspected Muslim plotters between November 2006 and the time of his arrest, court documents said. The U.S. attorney’s office would not go into specifics about what he supplied — only describing “facilities and personnel.”
Nur was initially charged by the feds with conspiracy when he was originally indicted, but the charges were changed when he made his plea June 29.
The other suspects, Russell Defreitas, a Guyanese immigrant who worked at the airport during the 1990s; Abdul Kadir, a former Guyanese elected official; and Kareem Ibrahim, of Trinidad, were indicted in the conspiracy charge after investigators caught them surveying the area surrounding JFK, the U.S. attorney said.
Defreitas allegedly told a federal informant who was wearing a wire that if the gas tanks and pipeline were attacked it would cripple New York and cause serious destruction.
“Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow .... They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man .... If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you can kill the man twice,” the defendant allegedly said, according to the criminal complaint.
The suspects never collected bomb-making materials before they were arrested, investigators said.
In federal court in Brooklyn last Thursday afternoon, prosecutors called on Steven Francis, 39, also known as Annas Bin Naddar, to testify. Naddar said he had acted as an FBI informant, investigating the plot to bomb the airport between June 2006 and 2007.
According to Naddar, he befriended Defreitas at the Gertz Mall in Jamaica and chauffeured him around New York City, and Defreitas allegedly told him about the plot.
Defreitas, who worked as a plane-loader at JFK Airport for many years, allegedly told Naddar that he wanted to bomb the airport in part because he found out through looking at a luggage log that he had been unwittingly loading “militant equipment” onto planes, which was being delivered to soldiers overseas who were killing innocent civilians.
“He said, ‘What if I tell you something very big?’ I said, ‘Okay.’ [He said,] ‘This thing is bigger than the World Trade Center. I feel like I can trust you, I feel like you were sent by Allah. I was approached about this and I plan to blow up the JFK Airport,’” Naddar said in court.
“He said he had studied the different aspects of the airport as far as routes, shifts. He said he had a knowledge of the areas of the airport that would be catastrophic,” Naddar testified.
The case is continuing this week.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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