NEW YORK CITY — While four men who have been charged with conspiring to blow up one of the nation’s busiest airports sit in custody, travelers continued to flock to JFK Airport for flights this week.
Just days ago, authorities charged the individuals, including mastermind Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen from Guyana who previously worked for a cargo company at JFK, with attempting to blow up fuel tanks and an underground petroleum pipeline known as the Buckeye Pipeline.
“Even the Twin Towers can’t touch it,” Defreitas said in recorded conversations obtained by authorities. “This can destroy the economy of America for some time.” Authorities said that Defreitas targeted JFK Airport because of its economic prowess and symbolism to America.
Two of Defreitas’ conspirators were arrested in Trinidad — Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana who has served as a member of the Guyanese Parliament, and Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad. The last member of the group, Abdel Nur, a citizen of Guyana, surrendered to authorities in Trinidad last week.
“The defendants are charged with conspiring to bomb one of the busiest airports in the United States, located in one of the most densely populated areas in the northeast. Had the plot been carried out, it could have resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths and destruction,” U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said.
Authorities began tracking the defendants back in January of 2006 after a CIA agent received information about the beginning of a potential terror group.
Some travelers expressed concern about the lack of screening for employees that work at the airport in light of Defreitas’ history of working at JFK, thus giving him inside information about the airport.
“It’s always threatening, but overall we have it covered,” said Jagjit Kaur, who said she never underwent any screening for her job as a promotional demonstrator at the Duty Free Shop at JFK. “You live in a place like this, you have to get used to it.”
“These arrests are another example of how it is that federal, state, and local law enforcement work together to protect our citizens from those who seek to do our country harm,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Source: The Queens (New York) Courier