Feds file bomb plot charge against terror suspect

Liz De La Torre

From The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Terror suspect Najibullah Zazi plotted for more than a year to detonate homemade bombs in the United States, had recently bought bomb-making supplies from beauty supply stores and was looking for “urgent” help in the past two weeks to make explosives, an indictment charged Thursday.

Zazi, arrested in Denver last weekend on a count of lying to terrorism investigators, was charged in New York with using conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. He arrived in a Denver courtroom late Thursday morning for a hearing on whether he should remain in federal custody.

The two-page indictment offers few details, but a separate document — a government motion seeking to deny bail to the 24-year-old Afghan immigrant — lays out evidence gathered by investigators.

The airport shuttle driver began plotting to “use one or more weapons of mass destruction” between Aug. 1, 2008, and September 2009 against the United States, the papers say.

The document says that on Sept. 6 and Sept. 7, Zazi tried on multiple times to communicate with another individual “seeking to correct mixtures of ingredients to make explosives.”

“Each communication,” the papers say, was “more urgent than the last.”

On those days, Zazi rented a suite at a hotel in his hometown of Aurora, Colo., authorities charge. The room had a kitchen, and subsequent FBI testing for explosives and residue in the suite found the presence of residue in the vent above the stove.

In July and August, Zazi purchased unusually high amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone products from beauty supply stores in the Denver metropolitan area, the document says. He searched the Internet for home improvement stores in Queens before driving a rental car for a two-day trip to the city, the document says.

Zazi has publicly denied any terrorist plotting — and the documents don’t specify a specific time and place of a possible attack. Counterterrorism agents fear he and others may have been planning to detonate homemade bombs on New York City commuter trains.

Authorities plan to transfer him to the federal court in the New York borough of Brooklyn to face the new charge.

Zazi, his father and Ahmad Wais Afzali, a New York City imam, are scheduled to appear Thursday in Denver and Brooklyn courts on counts of lying to terrorism investigators.