Aimee Ortiz, New York Times, January 9, 2020
A federal judge this week sentenced a Queens woman to 15 years in prison for her role in a bomb-making plot that would have targeted the United States, Justice Department officials said Thursday.
The woman, Asia Siddiqui, 35, was one of two people who were arrested and charged in April 2015 after a months long undercover investigation found that they had discussed the advantages of different types of bombs and obtained four propane gas tanks, according to the authorities.
In August 2019, Ms. Siddiqui and the other defendant, Noelle Velentzas, 32, pleaded guilty to a charge of teaching and distributing information about weapons of mass destruction, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement on Thursday.
Ms. Velentzas is still awaiting sentencing, the office said.
Ms. Siddiqui and Ms. Velentzas planned from 2013 to 2015 to build a bomb to use in a terrorist attack in the United States, the prosecutor’s office said, noting that the women “taught each other chemistry and electrical skills directly related to creating explosives and building detonating devices.”
The women researched how to build plastic explosives and a car bomb, and they shopped for materials that could be used in an explosive device, the office said. It added that they also discussed devices used in past terrorist attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombings, the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center attack.
According to court documents, prosecutors said the women researched “potential targets of an attack, focusing on law enforcement.”
Ms. Siddiqui wrote two poems and an article that were published in a magazine called Jihad Recollections, prosecutors said in court documents.
At the time of the arrests, the authorities found “tools of the trade for terrorists,” the United States attorney’s office said, including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, car bomb instructions, machetes, knives and jihadist literature.