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Times Square bomb suspect indicted

Faisal Shahzad was arrested May 3 on a Dubai-bound plane on charges that he drove an SUV rigged with a homemade car bomb into Times Square two nights earlier.
Image: Faisal Shahzad
Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of plotting a car bombing in New York's Times Square, was indicted Thursday by a grand jury on terrorism-related charges.U.s. Marshals Service / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad was charged Thursday with 10 terrorism and weapons counts in an indictment that accuses him of receiving explosives training and financial help from the Pakistani Taliban.

The indictment returned by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan added five charges to the original case against the 30-year-old Shahzad and also detailed in greater depth his alleged financing, saying Shahzad had received a total of $12,000 from the militant group through cash drop-offs in Massachusetts and Long Island.

Shahzad is accused of plotting to build and detonate a homemade gasoline-and-propane bomb inside a used SUV among thousands of tourists on a busy Saturday night. He was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction among several terrorism and weapons counts.

"The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad's attempted attack on American soil," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a release. "Our nation averted serious loss of life in this attempted bombing, but it is a reminder that we face an evolving threat that we must continue to fight with every tool available to the government."

Lawyer won't comment
Shahzad's lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the indictment. Shahzad was scheduled to enter a plea during an appearance in court Monday. The most serious counts against him carry mandatory penalties of life in prison.

The indictment repeats earlier allegations — that he received training from the Taliban and began acquiring the materials for a bomb shortly after he returned to the U.S. from Pakistan in early February. So far, the FBI says, there's no indication that anyone in the U.S. knowingly helped him with his plot.

The indictment alleged that Shahzad received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, in December 2009 from trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a Pakistan-based militant extremist group. The affiliation with the group led to financing as well, the indictment alleged.

It said Shahzad received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts on Feb. 25 from a co-conspirator in Pakistan whom Shahzad understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban.

Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, 2010, Shahzad received an $7,000 more in cash in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., which also was sent at the co-conspirator's direction, the indictment said.

Conspiracy alleged
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Shahzad conspired with the Pakistani Taliban "to wreak death and destruction in Times Square."

Shahzad was born in Pakistan, moved to the United States when he was 18 and lived most recently in Bridgeport, Conn.

He was accused of abandoning an SUV fitted with a homemade car bomb in Times Square on May 1. A street vendor noticed smoke in the vehicle and alerted police, who immediately evacuated the area. The bomb never ignited and no one was hurt.

Shahzad was arrested May 3 on a Dubai-bound plane at Kennedy International Airport.

After his arrest, Shahzad cooperated with investigators for several weeks, providing what authorities described as details of the attack and information that led to other arrests. Authorities say he almost immediately admitted his role in the attack.

The indictment, reciting the facts dispassionately, said Shahzad bought a semiautomatic 9 mm Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut on March 15. The weapon was found loaded in his car on the day of his arrest.

It said he contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder in April after seeing an advertisement posted on a website. According to the indictment, Shahzad met the vehicle's seller in a Connecticut supermarket parking lot, where he paid $1,300.

The indictment said he also bought components for the bomb in April.

Authorities have said they believed Shahzad acted alone in carrying out the bomb plot after receiving financial and other help from the Pakistani Taliban. Shahzad had returned in February from a five-month trip to his homeland.

Federal investigators believe money was channeled through an underground money transfer network known as "hawala," but they have said they doubt anyone in the U.S. who provided money knew what it was for.

Pakistan has arrested at least 11 people since the attempted attack. An intelligence official has alleged two of them played a role in the plot. No one has been charged.

Three men in Massachusetts and Maine suspected of supplying money to Shahzad have been detained on immigration charges; one was recently transferred to New York.