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Four indicted in plot to blow up N.Y. airport

Four men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn Friday for an alleged plot to blow up New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
/ Source: Reuters

Four men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn Friday for an alleged plot to blow up New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Russell Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur will face a total of six charges, including conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility, conspiracy to destroy a public building by explosion and conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities.

Prosecutors said the accused were Islamic extremists who sought to blow up the airport's fuel tanks and part of the 40-mile pipeline feeding them from New Jersey.

They planned to "discharge and detonate an explosive and other lethal device" to cause "death, serious bodily injury" and "major economic loss," the indictment said.

When the plot was disclosed early this month, law enforcement officials initially described it as "chilling." But authorities have acknowledged the plot was more "aspirational" than operational and posed no immediate threat.

Defreitas, 63, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana who was arrested in New York, will enter his plea at an arraignment scheduled for July 11. Officials said he was a former airport cargo handler who headed the plot and conducted surveillance for the group.

U.S. officials are seeking the extradition of Trinidadian Ibrahim and Guyanese citizens Kadir and Nur who are scheduled to appear at a bail hearing Monday in Trinidad after they were previously denied bail there.

The men sought the help of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, an Islamist extremist group in Trinidad that was behind a 1990 coup attempt on the island, authorities said early this month.

Since then a spokesman for the group in Port of Spain has denied any involvement with the men and said Ibrahim left the group 20 years ago.

The men face a maximum of life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge of planning to attack a public transportation system.