Thursday, May 13, 2010

Faisal Shahzad Times Square bomb plot probe: FBI arrest 3 after raids on Mass., N.J., L.I. locations

Originally Published:Thursday, May 13th 2010, 9:25 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 13th 2010, 1:01 PM

A law enforcement investigator enters a home in Watertown, Mass.,  Thursday, May 13, 2010. Federal agents arrested two people in connection  with the failed Times Square car bomb, federal authorities said.
Senne/AP
A law enforcement investigator enters a home in Watertown, Mass., Thursday, May 13, 2010. Federal agents arrested two people in connection with the failed Times Square car bomb, federal authorities said.
An FBI investigator searches a car at a service station in  Brookline, Mass.  CLICK FOR PHOTOS OF THE TIMES SQUARE TERROR SCARE.
Dwyer/AP
An FBI investigator searches a car at a service station in Brookline, Mass. CLICK FOR PHOTOS OF THE TIMES SQUARE TERROR SCARE.

Three people were arrested Thursday morning as FBI agents hit a half-dozen locations in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Long Island with links to the botched terrorist car bombing in Times Square.

The raids on a gas station and a home outside Boston were tied to friends of accused terrorist Faisal Shahzad, arrested two days after the failed plot, sources told the Daily News.

Agents also targeted homes in Shirley and Centereach on Long Island, a location in Camden, N.J., and a print shop in nearby Cherry Hill, N.J., sources said.

The locations were identified as part of the ongoing investigation into the plot to blow up tourists and theater-goers in Times Square, officials said.

Ashim Chakraborty, the live-in landlord in Centereach, said the FBI and police arrived at her home about 7:30 a.m.

Investigators wanted to question her tenants, a couple who moved in about 18 months ago.

"I asked them and they told me they are looking for some information, but I don't know what kind of problem they have," Chakraborty said.

The Long Island raids involved a hunt for the courier who provided Shahzad with money for his May 1 plot to blow up an SUV in the Crossroads of the World, sources told the Daily News.

The suspect remained at large, a source told the News.

But the raids did produce three arrests, all for alleged immigration violations, federal officials said. The FBI cordoned off a home in Watertown, Mass., a suburb of Boston, with sources indicating friends of Shahzad had stayed at that address.

The agents also raided a Mobil gas station on Harvard Street in Brookline, Mass., where they recovered a 2000 Honda Accord, officials said.

The vehicle was from the Watertown home surrounded by the FBI. A neighbor said the agents arrived around 6 a.m. and took one person out of the house in handcuffs.

Vinny Lacerra, 50, who lives across the street, said 15 to 20 FBI agents with guns drawn flanked the house. "FBI! Put your hands up!" he said they shouted.

The agents went inside, and came out 15 minutes later with a man in handcuffs. Later, agents emerged carrying computers and paperwork, Lacerra said.

"I was surprised to see this because this is what you see on TV," Lacerra said.

The man in custody worked at the gas station and lived in the home, and was reportedly a native of Pakistan, officials said.

"There's no known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States," said FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz.

While details were scarce, bombing suspect Shahzad cooperated with federal investigators after his arrest while trying to flee the country.

It was unclear if the raids were linked to information provided by the talkative terror suspect.

Shahzad, a 30-year-old Connecticut man with ties to the Pakistani Taliban, was arrested two weeks ago after leaving his explosives-laden car in the middle of Times Square.

The raids come a day after the Obama administration slashed $53 million from New York City's terror-fighting budget.

sgaskell@nydailynews.com

Post a Comment