Zazi relatives charged in terrorism case: Feds

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Two men face new charges in relation to the case against Najibullah Zazi, a relative of theirs who grew up in Flushing and allegedly planned a thwarted al-Qaeda terror plot against New York.

Mohammed Wali Zazi, 55, and his son, Najibullah Zazi, 24, were arrested together in September in Colorado. Mohammed Zazi was charged with lying to investigators and later released on bail, while Najibullah Zazi, the alleged mastermind of an operation that grew out of the Flushing neighborhood where he grew up, was accused of plotting a terror attack on America, according to court documents.

Two men who attended Flushing High School with Najibullah Zazi, Adis Medunjanin, 25, and Zerein Ahmedzay, 24, are accused of traveling to Pakistan in August 2008 and allegedly receiving training from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan before returning to Queens, as part of the suspected plot. Najibullah then moved to Denver and allegedly began to plan for the attacks, according to court documents. Najibullah Zazi, Medunjanin and Ahmedzay are all being held without bail.

Prosecutors arrested Mohammed Zazi Monday morning in Denver, where he was schedule to attend a court hearing later on in the day, The New York Times reported, on charges of conspiring to obstruct the investigation into the plot, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

According to an indictment filed last week and unsealed Monday, Mohammed Zazi “together with others did knowingly and intentionally conspire to corruptly alter, destroy, mutilate and conceal objects, to wit: glasses, masks, liquid chemicals and containers, with the intent to impair the objects’ integrity and availability for use in [the investigat­ion].”

He faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the charges against him.

Though details on the objects were not listed, Najibullah Zazi allegedly purchased household beauty supplies in order to make explosives, according to court documents. Mohammed Zazi will be brought to New York for his trial, Nardoza said, because he was arrested under a New York indictment.

Najibullah Zazi’s uncle, Naqib Jaji, 38, also originally from Queens, was arrested in connection with the case against Najibullah Zazi and arraigned Jan. 14 in a sealed federal courtroom in Brooklyn, according to The Times, which suggests he may be cooperating with investigators.

Nardoza declined to comment on the case against Jaji other than to confirm he was arrested.

Jaji, who called his nephew “very greedy” in an interview with the Denver Post but said it was “impossible” he was a terrorist, was charged with a felony in an indictment that remains sealed, according to The Times, which reported that he was listed on a court docket as John Doe, another indicator he may be cooperating.

Najibullah Zazi moved from Flushing to Colorado early last year and lived with his father’s sister and Jaji in the suburbs of Denver.

Medunjanin is charged with conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country and receiving military-style training from al-Qaeda, while Ahmedzay is charged with lying to the FBI about the Middle East trip and his knowledge that another man had received the training.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 5:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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