A Colorado man charged with gathering and preparing bomb-making materials was transferred to a Brooklyn detention center Friday to face charges in the borough's federal court.
A government plane brought Najibullah Zazi, 24, from Denver to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, as seen in the police photo above. He was then accompanied by a several police car escort and a police helicopter and arrived at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park by 6 p.m.
Zazi was being held without bail.
Earlier Friday in Colorado, Judge Craig Shaffer dismissed a charge accusing Zazi of lying to federal authorities. That was the only charge Zazi faced in Colorado and the dismissal paved the way for his transfer.
In court papers Thursday, prosecutors claimed that after being trained by al-Qaida in Pakistan, the 24-year-old Afghan immigrant purchased large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover from beauty supply stores and cooked them in a hotel room, asking an associate for help in finding the right mixture.
According to the Associated Press, a U.S. prosecutor told a federal judge that "the evidence suggests a chilling, disturbing sequence of
events showing the defendant was intent on making a bomb and being in New York on 9/11, for purposes of perhaps using such items."
Not much is known about Zazi's intended target, but earlier this month, just before the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, he drove from his home in Denver to New York. He says he was trying to iron out a permit issue with a coffee cart he owns.
Zazi was arrested last week on charges of lying to investigators. If convicted of the more serious charges, he could face life in prison.
"Of the 824 prosecutions we've had go through our federal courts since September 11th, very few of them have combined alleged al-Qaida affiliation, terrorist training in a training camp, and potential use of a weapon of mass destruction," said Karen Greenberg of NYU's Center on Law and Security. "The Zazi case combines all three of these factors."
His father, Mohammed Zazi, 53, and a Queens imam were also in court Thursday on charges they lied to investigators.
The elder Zazi was released under court supervision until a hearing on October 9.
Imam Ahmad Afzali, who is accused of tipping off the Zazis, was released on $1.5 million bond.
His lawyer says Zazi already knew he was being followed, and his client did not help him.
Afzali's movements will be monitored and he must surrender his passport. He will be allowed to go to work and attend services at his mosque.
Speaking to reporters outside his Queens home, Afzali says he has never and will never hurt anyone, saying it's against Islamic law.
"We're all American citizens. I was raised an American, I'm an American since I was 7 years old, and 14 days from now, I'm going to be 38 years old," he said. "My whole family is American citizens, so please, before we judge in the papers, media and TV, know the facts from fiction."
The investigation led to raids in Queens and national warnings of possible bomb attacks on transit, sports and entertainment complexes.
Some experts say this terrorism case is one of the most important brought by federal authorities since the September 11th terrorist attacks.
"The most alarming aspect of this case is the potential use of WMDs," said Greenberg. "That is the most serious charge that we encounter in terrorism cases. It is one that you should not minimize. And that's what this case looks like it's about."
In an unrelated case, a Brooklyn man has been arraigned on charges he tried to declare war on United States troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.
Prosecutors say 21-year old Betim Kaziu traveled to Egypt in February with the goal of eventually making it to Pakistan for militant training.
He was arrested in Kosovo last month.
But Kaziu's family says he was spending a year abroad to study Arabic and the Quran. They say at the time of his arrest he was on his way to visit family in Albania.
Kaziu has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. He's being held without bail.
If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Authorities foiled two other alleged terror plots in the United States Thursday. Both involved undercover investigators who provided what they said were bombs.
Michael Finton, 29, was arrested after he allegedly tried to detonate what he believed was a bomb in a van outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill.
In Dallas, Jordanian Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, was arrested after police say he placed what he believed to be a bomb in the garage of a 60-story Dallas skyscraper.
In both cases, the devices were fakes supplied by undercover FBI agents.
Officials say there is no apparent connection between the cases.