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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

2 Guyanese Guilty in Plot to Bomb J.F.K. Airport -

2 Guyanese Guilty in Plot to Bomb J.F.K. Airport -

A federal jury found two Guyanese men guilty on Monday of conspiring to attack Kennedy International Airport, concluding a monthlong trial that focused on their plan to blow up fuel tanks and set off a series of explosions along a pipeline that cuts through New York City.

The plot never advanced beyond the conceptual stage, and the planning sessions, some of which were recorded by a confidential informant, were alternately grandiose and absurd in some of its details. Talk of destroying the American economy mixed with suggestions of a “ninja-style” attack.

As in some other recent terrorism cases, the threat as officials described it at the time of the arrests seemed to exceed the suspects’ capacity. Like most of those cases, though, it resulted in conviction.

The defendants, Russell M. Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, had been monitored from an early stage in the plot by the informant, who posed as a member of the group, which included a number of other participants.

The informant, Steven Francis, had recorded the men at the airport during surveillance missions and on international trips to secure financial and logistical support for the attack.

The recordings were used by federal prosecutors to portray Mr. Defreitas, 67, an immigrant who became a United States citizen and is a former cargo handler at the airport, as the “homegrown extremist” who conceived and drove the plot.

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