NEW YORK – Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square the evening of May 1, 2010.
Shahzad, 31, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3, after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the United States on a commercial flight to Dubai.
Shahzad pled guilty in federal court to 10 offenses related to the attempting bombing and faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
"Faisal Shahzad is a remorseless terrorist who betrayed his adopted country and today was rightly sentenced to spend the rest of his life in federal prison,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “While his life sentence ensures that he will never again threaten the security of New York City and our nation, together we must remain vigilant against those like him who wish to do us harm."
According to the Indictment to which Shahzad pled guilty, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made during today's proceeding, in December 2009, he received explosives training in Waziristan, Pakistan, from explosive trainers affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban, a militant extremist group based in Pakistan.
On February 25, 2010, he received approximately $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts sent from a co-conspirator ("CC-1") in Pakistan whom he understood worked for Tehrik-e-Taliban. Approximately six weeks later, on April 10, 2010, he received an additional $7,000 in cash in Ronkonkoma, New York, which was also sent at CC-1's direction.
On March 15, 2010, Shahzad purchased a semi-automatic 9 millimeter Kel-Tec rifle in Connecticut. This rifle was later found, loaded, in Shahzad's car on the day of his arrest.
In April 2010, he contacted the seller of a Nissan Pathfinder after seeing an advertisement posted on a website. Thereafter, on April 24, 2010, he and the seller of the Pathfinder agreed to meet in a supermarket parking lot in Connecticut, where he paid the seller $1,300 for the Pathfinder. In April 2010, he also purchased components for the improvised explosive and incendiary devices that he loaded into the Pathfinder on May 1, 2010.
On May 1, 2010, Shahzad drove the Pathfinder, loaded with the improvised explosive and incendiary devices, into Manhattan. He parked the Pathfinder in Times Square in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. After parking the Pathfinder, he attempted to begin the detonation process of the improvised explosive and incendiary devices. He then abandoned the Pathfinder and returned to his residence in Connecticut.
On May 3, 2010, Shahzad drove from Connecticut to JFK Airport with his Kel-Tec rifle inside his car as he attempted to flee to Dubai. He was arrested later that same day at JFK Airport. After his arrest, he admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan. He admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it. He also admitted that if he had not been arrested, he would have attempted to detonate another bomb in New York City two weeks later.
"The case of Faisal Shahzad demonstrates the global scope of the terrorist threat. Distinctions between home-grown and foreign terrorists are blurred when a U.S. citizen travels to Pakistan to learn bomb-making from a known terrorist organization, then returns to the U.S. and receives financial backing from the overseas organization,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk. “However you define him, there’s no question that Shahzad built a mobile weapon of mass destruction and hoped and intended that it would kill large numbers of innocent people – and planned to do it again two weeks later. The sentence imposed today means Shahzad will never pose that threat again. The FBI will continue to work with our partners here and around the world to protect the public."