Fourth suspect in alleged JFK airport plot surrenders
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- A Guyanese suspect in an alleged plot to bomb a fuel pipeline feeding New York's John F. Kennedy Airport surrendered to police Tuesday in Trinidad, a police official said.
Abdel Nur turned himself in at a police station outside the Trinidadian capital of Port-of-Spain, police spokeswoman Wendy Campbell said.
He is the fourth man arrested the alleged plot, including a former opposition member of Guyana's parliament and a former airport air cargo employee who was arrested in New York.
Trinidadian Police Commissioner Trevor Paul had warned Monday that Nur should be considered armed and dangerous and he appealed to the public for help in finding him.
"I am confident that the pressure brought to bear by the Trinidadian police authorities contributed to his surrender," said Mark Mershon, the head of the FBI in New York. "We are very grateful for their tremendous cooperation in this investigation."
Nur is the uncle of former world welterweight boxing champion Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis, one of Guyana's most famous citizens, according to several newspapers -- including one that quoted the boxer.
U.S. authorities claim the alleged plotters unsuccessfully sought support in Trinidad from Jamaat al Muslimeen, a radical Islamic group that staged a deadly coup attempt in the Caribbean nation in 1990.
In addition to Nur, Trinidadian authorities are holding two suspects: Abdul Kadir, the former Guyanese lawmaker, and Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad. They are fighting extradition to the United States.
The other suspect, Russell Defreitas, is a former JFK air cargo employee who was arrested in New York. He is a U.S. citizen native to Guyana, a former Dutch and British colony on the northern coast of South America.
The leader of Jamaat al Muslimeen said Monday that his group had no connection the plot. "I know nothing about these men and I have nothing to do with whatever they are being charged for," said Yasin Abu Bakr.
Bakr would not say if he knew any of the suspects.
The case was broken open by an informant -- a twice-convicted drug dealer who found himself in the midst of what investigators called a terrorist plot conceived as more devastating than the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Would you like to die as a martyr?" the informant was asked, according to the indictment.
He unhesitatingly replied yes and soon was making surveillance trips around the airport -- the "chicken farm," as the planners dubbed their target.
Authorities said the JFK scheme was an example of homegrown terrorism. Defreitas, 63, immigrated to the U.S. more than 30 years ago, but he told the federal informant that his feelings of disgust toward his adopted homeland had lingered for years.
"Before terrorism started in this country," he said in one secretly recorded conversation.
Defreitas was arrested Friday night outside Brooklyn's Lindenwood Diner -- a spot once bugged by federal officials tracking former Gambino family boss John A. "Junior" Gotti.
Jamaat al Muslimeen, known for launching a bloody 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad that involved taking the prime minister and his Cabinet hostage, is not accused of offering the suspects any support. The group, whose followers are largely black converts to Sunni Islam, has faded as a political force in Trinidad while Abu Bakr fends off criminal charges of inciting violence.