Sept. 29, 2011
A police car is seen in the driveway of Rezwan Ferdaus' home in Ashland, Mass. (AP)
BOSTON — A 26-year-old Ashland man is under arrest and charged with plotting to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with a remote-controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives.
Rezwan Ferdaus, a former Northeastern University student, is also charged with trying to provide material support and resources to Al Qaeda, according to the FBI. Those materials allegedly were to be used against U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Rezwan Ferdaus appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Worcester for an initial status hearing. Ferdaus graduated with a degree in physics from Northeastern and authorities believe he used that knowledge to plot an attack against the Pentagon and other targets in Washington DC. Federal prosecutors say that Ferdaus concocted the plan in early 2010, but the FBI caught on quickly to what was going on.
According to prosecutors, he allegedly modified several mobile phones to serve as switches for improvised explosive devices.
He thought he was handing them over to fellow plotters, but the devices were in fact given to undercover FBI agents, posing as true believers. In June, they informed Ferdaus that one of his homemade devices had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured others in Iraq. The FBI said he was overjoyed when he heard the news.
He subsequently delivered more of the improvised devices to the men whom he thought were fellow plotters, according to prosecutors.
And he allegedly told an undercover agent that in the aftermath of the planned “aerial assault,” he wanted to launch a ground attack, involving six people using automatic firearms.
In recent months, he ordered and received, from phony Al Queda operatives, a remote-controlled aircraft, a facsimile of C-4 explosives, six fully-automatic AK-47 machine guns and grenades. Using an alias, Ferdaus rented a storage unit in Framingham and locked the weapons there. As the door was closing, the FBI moved in and made the arrest, according to the prosecutors statement.
A detention hearing will be held at 3 p.m. Monday.