July 11th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Accused model airplane terrorist accepts plea deal

by the CNN Wire Staff

The man accused of plotting to use model airplanes loaded with explosives to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol agreed Tuesday to a plea deal.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a 26-year-old from Ashland, Massachusetts, will plead guilty to two of the six charges against him and faces 17 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen, will plead guilty to attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda for attacks on U.S. troops overseas, authorities said.

A change-of-plea hearing was scheduled for July 20 in Boston.

Ferdaus planned to use large, remote-controlled model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosive against the targets, officials said. He was arrested in September as a result of an undercover FBI investigation.

A law enforcement official said in October that Ferdaus posed no immediate danger to the public because undercover operatives kept in close contact with him.

There is no information suggesting he was connected to a foreign terrorist organization, the source said, adding he was apparently radicalized by watching videos on the Internet.

The investigation also involved a cooperating witness, and authorities began recording conversations between that witness and Ferdaus in January 2011, officials said.

Ferdaus began planning a violent "jihad" against America in early 2010, according to the federal indictment against him, and he began supplying the FBI undercover agents with cell phones rigged to act as electric switches for improved explosive devices, intended to be used to kill U.S. soldiers overseas.

Undercover federal agents gave Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University in Boston, 25 pounds of fake C-4 explosives. Only a very small amount of it was real, the source said.

FBI agents also gave Ferdaus six AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades, but they weren't functional, the source said.

Between May and September, Ferdaus also ordered and acquired a $6,500 remote-controlled aircraft, an F-86 Sabre, that he kept under a false name in a rented storage facility in Framingham, Massachusetts, the indictment said. He also planned to use other remote-controlled models of military aircraft, the indictment said.

The models he planned to use are about one-tenth the size of the actual aircraft.

Filed under: Lone wolf • Terrorism
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Paul

    There was virtually NO threat from this plot at that time. Unless he recruited someone to set up, operate and fly the plane, it would have only one, very short flight! Model aircraft are not "easy" for a novice to fly. For most people, it takes several sessions with what is called a buddy box, where an instructor takes off and then switches control to the student. I have met several full scale pilots who thought it would be a snap since they were "real pilots". They were humbled in a few short seconds! The trainers we use are very stable and allow the student time to gain the necessary hand-eye coordination before going solo. That plane would have been impossible for the so-called terrorist to operate.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • GhostCoyote

      The F4 pictured would have been impossible I agree, but thats not to say he couldn't have just bought a top wing trainer and flown it across the lawn into the dome hoping to collapse it. I doubt it would have carried enough explosives to even punch a hole in it, let alone collapse it, but thats beside the point. Landing is the hardest part of model flying, but he didn't really have to worry about that I suppose.

      July 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  2. a flight to capitivity

    Well perhaps he should take collision avoidence training as the walls may jump out at him now & than .

    July 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  3. jswagkobe24

    I hope he gets shanked in prison we dont need anymore terrorists got that al queda

    July 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  4. jswagkobe24

    pakistanis r cray

    July 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  5. Grim Reaper

    Why didn't we kill this guy instead?

    July 11, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  6. Tom Clark

    "Set up like a bowling pin"

    July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  7. detroitjoe

    so basically this is another false flag operation, where the FBI "recruited" a terrorist, then foiled their own plot, to report that they foiled another terrorist attack.... sick

    July 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      So true! Just like the latest underwear bomber who was recruited by the CIA and pressured to make the bomb. Then the CIA agent mysteriously disappeared!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  8. Pakistan small penis syndrom

    Bakistanis at there best ..awsome keep the gd work

    abu gandu ammi rand
    dil dil pakistan

    July 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply

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