NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Bangladeshi man has been indicted on charges of attempting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank last month with what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb, court papers made public Thursday show.
The grand jury indictment charges Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempting to provide material support to a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, al Qaeda. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Nafis was arrested on October 17 after pulling up to the Federal Reserve and attempting to detonate what he believed to be a van packed with explosives.
In fact, the explosives had been provided to Nafis by an undercover agent as part of a sting operation, and were never in working condition, federal authorities said.
A criminal complaint unsealed last month against Nafis said he traveled to the United States in 2012, and eventually moved to Queens, New York.
There, he scouted out targets for a potential attack - including the New York Stock Exchange and a high-ranking government official identified as U.S. President Barack Obama - settling eventually on the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan.
Nafis attempted to recruit others to his plan, claiming he was in contact with al Qaeda operatives, the complaint said.
One of the individuals he brought on board was an undercover agent working for the FBI, who monitored Nafis’ activities and helped arm him with the inoperable explosives, federal authorities said.
No date has been set for Nafis’ arraignment, and he remains in custody, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said. A lawyer representing Nafis declined to comment.
The case is U.S. v. Nafis, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 12-965.
Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Todd Eastham