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A fifth one-time Flushing resident has been convicted of federal charges in connection with a 2009 terror plot to blow up New York City subway stations, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
A federal jury in Brooklyn federal court found former Flushing resident Mohammed Wali Zazi, the father of admitted Flushing terrorist Najibullah Zazi, guilty Friday of destroying bomb-making materials and conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation into his son’s foiled plot, the office said. He faces up to 40 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 2, and a count of visa fraud in federal court in Manhattan.
“This defendant sought to conceal one of the most serious terror plots in recent times,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “He also enlisted others to help him spin his web of lies and to destroy key evidence. Had the plot not been thwarted, it would have left Americans at grave risk.”
His name was added to the list of men with Flushing connections who have either been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to crimes in connection with the plot. That list includes the plot’s admitted leader Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support to al-Qaeda; his accomplice Zarein Ahmedzay, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization; Imam Ahmad Wais Afzali, who was sentenced in April 2010 to time served and ordered to leave the country for lying to federal authorities about discussions he had with Najibullah Zazi in 2009; and Mohammed Zazi’s nephew, former Flushing resident Amanullah Zazi, who has pleaded guilty to destroying evidence, lying to a grand jury and helping his Flushing High School classmates Najibullah Zazi, Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin find terrorist training. Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to terror charges.
Witnesses called by the prosecutors against Mohammed Zazi during the short trial included FBI agents who interrogated him in 2009 and Amanullah Zazi, who signed a cooperation deal with federal investigators.
Amanullah said from the stand last week that his uncle, whom he lived with for years in Flushing and Colorado, told him to “take care of the chemicals,” meaning destroy Najibullah Zazi’s bomb-making materials, after he learned federal authorities knew of his son’s terror plot.
Amanullah Zazi also contended that he told Mohammed Zazi that he helped Najibullah Zazi, Ahmedzay and Medunjanin get to Waziristan, where Najibullah Zazi and Ahmedzay have admitted they received terror training from al-Qaeda in 2008. Medunjanin has denied receiving terror training.
“I told him ... I helped them get to Waziristan,” Amanullah Zazi testified. “He said not to tell anybody.”
A source close to the trial said other charges may be brought against him in Colorado, where he lived at the time of his Feb. 1, 2010, arrest.
The prosecution’s case was bolstered by a range of evidence, including a description of a recipe to make the explosive triacetone triperoxide found on Najibullah Zazi’s computer.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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