Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Queens Terror Suspect To Remain In Police Custody

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The three men at the center of a terror investigation stretching from Queens to Colorado appeared in court Monday.

Najibullah Zazi, 24, and his 53-year-old father Mohammed were in federal court in Denver, while 37-year-old Queens imam Ahmad Wais Afzali appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court.

All face charges of making false statements to federal agents and each faces up to eight years in prison.

Afzali did not make a plea during Monday's hearing and will be held until at least Thursday, when there will be a detention hearing.

Authorities say Afzali, seen below in an interview with NY1 in 2006, has been used as a New York City Police Department informant in the past.


Investigators say he lied about warning Zazi and his father that authorities were asking questions about them.

Afzali's attorney Ron Kuby said his client has been cooperative with authorities and is a victim of authorities being desperate for information.

"Why in the world, since he knew the conversation was being recorded, and we know he knew because he said it on the recording, why in the world would he lie to the FBI," asked Kuby, "about the contents of a conversation that he knew the FBI had on tape?

Kuby is asking for the prosecution to produce at Thursday's hearing a Joint Terrorism Task Force member who has worked extensively with his client in the past.

Authorities say they found bomb-making instructions on Zazi's computer, as well as batteries and a scale that could be used to make explosives.

Officials say he drove from Denver to New York on September 10th. During the trip, the FBI searched his rental car and laptop and listen in on phone conversations. Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force also conducted raids in Flushing, Queens.

Zazi told federal agents he must have mistakenly downloaded the bomb-making instructions as part of a religious book.

Law enforcement officials say they still do not know for when or where the bombing was to take place.

"This investigation is just beginning," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "It has many different avenues to take, as the attorney general said, this investigation is going forward in New York, Denver, and in other locations in the country."

The FBI says Zazi, who was raised in Afghanistan, admitted last week to receiving explosives and training from al-Qaida.

His lawyers have repeatedly denied he is directly linked with al-Qaida.

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