Rezwan Ferdaus agrees to a sentencing recommendation of 17 years
He was accused of plotting to use model planes and C4 explosives to blow up targets
Ferdaus had been closely monitored by undercover agents, the FBI says
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 that he was connected to a foreign terrorist organization, the source said, adding that 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-10th the size of the actual aircraft.