WASHINGTON (WPIX)—He's accused of targeting the subway in suburban Washington, D.C. where he now lives, but a man in custody on terrorism charges has deep New York connections.
Farooque Ahmed, a former Staten Island resident, was planning to use rolling suitcases to get bombs on the subway, according to the indictment against him. It says that he was hoping to kill as many people as possible.
The FBI says that Ahmed, 34, a naturalized citizen born in Pakistan, spent six months making extensive plans to bomb four subway stops near the Pentagon.
According to the indictment, the man who had moved in recent years from Staten Island to suburban Washington took video inside subway stations, suggested the types of suitcases that should be used to carry bombs, took notes on when the stations would be most crowded, and made sketches of the stations.
Ahmed submitted all of his plans to a group of people whom he assumed were members of an Al Qaeda cell that was plotting an attack to be carried out next year. In reality, the group was made up of FBI agents posing as terrorists.
Ahmed was indicted Wednesday on charges of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility and attempting to provide material support to carry out multiple bombings to cause mass causalities at Washington area metro stations.
The terror suspect lives in Ashburn, Virginia, about 20 miles northwest of Washington, but his ties to New York City are extensive.
For years, Farooque Ahmed lived in the Graniteville neighborhood of Staten Island. He graduated from the City University of New York and studied for two years at the College of Staten Island. He became a U.S. citizen 17 years ago, taking his oath of allegiance in New York.
Doubt of that allegiance came from Ahmed's former neighbors in Graniteville, as they learned about the accusations. Joseph Compagno lives five doors away from Ahmed's former home, and told PIX 11 News, "What better place than a quiet family community to just blend in, unfortunately."
Other neighbors also expressed surprise. The family that lives in Ahmed's former home told PIX 11 News that they are not related to him, only recently moved in and do not know him.
The FBI and NYPD have warned of homegrown terrorists as a serious threat to homeland security, and Farooque Ahmed is the latest in a series of local terror suspects that law enforcement has dealt with.
Earlier this week, agents arrested another former Staten Island resident on terror charges. Investigators say that Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, a Tottenville High School graduate and U.S. citizen by birth, tried to fly to Pakistan to join the Taliban two years ago. Pakistani authorities sent Shehadeh back to the U.S., where he was eventually arrested.
Also, Bridgeport, Connecticut resident Faisal Shahzad was convicted earlier this month for trying to explode a car bomb in Times Square. Shahzad admitted to traveling to Pakistan to undergo Al Qaeda bomb training, which he used to help him make the bomb which failed to detonate. Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison.
As for the case of Farooque Ahmed, the man suspected of plotting to bomb the Washington, D.C. subway, The FBI says that at no time was the public in danger. Ahmed is being held without bail. He could face up to 50 years in prison if he is convicted.