May 21, 2009
Homegrown Terror Cell Busted
(Bronx, New York) Four African-American men were arrested by FBI agents last night for allegedly plotting to detonate explosives at two synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down an airplane. Three of the men are reported jail house converts to Islam and all are residents of Newburgh, about 60 miles north of NYC.
All four men were US-born.The four had been the subjects of a year-long investigation in which FBI agents posed as terrorist supporters willing to provide C-4 explosives and a Stinger missile. The missile was intended for use against an airplane at Stewart National Guard Base in Newburgh.
Arrested was alleged ringleader James Cromitie of Newburgh, the son of an Afghan immigrant and his African American wife.
Cromitie served a long stretch in prison in the past.
Alleged henchmen David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen were busted with him.
Arraignment is scheduled for today in White Plains federal court.
[Update 0700 EDT] The four men have reported aliases: James Cromitie, also known as Abdul Rahman; Onta Williams, also known as Hamza; David Williams, also known as Daoud; and Laguerre Payen, also known as Amin.
Cromitie told investigators that he was upset about the war in Afghanistan and that many Muslims were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
[Update 0730] More details from another source:
FBI agents posing as militants sold them what they thought was 30 pounds of C-4 and a plane-downing Stinger missile.More later.
The weaponry was all phony.
The men were arrested as they planted fake bombs in front of the Riverdale Temple in the Bronx and under cars parked in front of the synagogue.
They also allegedly planned to blow up a nearby Jewish Community Center.
Witnesses said an NYPD vehicle blocked a black SUV outside the temple and then officers broke in the windows and handcuffed the four men inside the car.