Man Pleads Guilty in NYC Pipe Bomb Terrorism Plot

Jennifer Peltz, ABC News, February 19, 2014

A man accused of building homemade bombs to wage holy war in New York City pleaded guilty Wednesday to a terrorism charge less than a week before his scheduled trial in a rare state-level terrorism case.

Jose Pimentel, wearing a knitted skull cap, softly answered questions and shook his head at times as he acknowledged he’d tried to craft a pipe bomb in 2011, with the idea of using it to make a violent impact on U.S. foreign policy.

He sought, according to a statement a judge read on his behalf, to “try to undermine public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Pimentel pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism. {snip}

{snip}

“Today’s guilty plea further supports the fact that, increasingly, the threat of terrorism comes from radicalized local actors living in our community,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said at a news conference.

But Pimentel’s lawyers have suggested he would never have progressed from posting online to trying to make pipe bombs if police hadn’t sent a series of informants to engage with him.

{snip}

Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, is a Dominican immigrant who was raised in the U.S. and converted to Islam around 2004.

He maintained a website with articles praising Osama bin Laden, describing Sept. 11 victims as legitimate targets and listing reasons to “nuke the USA,” prosecutors said in court papers. He repeatedly clashed with his former wife because of his militant beliefs about Islam, and his mother had thrown him out of her apartment over his views, prosecutors said.

His vitriol deepened in 2011, when he was recorded talking about assassinating a judge, killing returning soldiers and bombing a police station or the George Washington Bridge, officials said; he also talked about targeting Jews, Assistant District Attorney Deborah Hickey said. He was arrested that November as he assembled bombs from clocks, Christmas tree lights, match-head scrapings and other items acquired at dollar shops and hardware stores, prosecutors said.

One informant and an undercover officer had gotten nowhere with Pimentel, Walsh and fellow Pimentel lawyer Lori Cohen said. But then police sent another informant, a fellow Hispanic Muslim convert who smoked joints with Pimentel while they talked about jihad, accompanied him to buy bomb makings and opened his apartment to Pimentel to put the materials together.

{snip}

Topics: , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.