NEW: Nafis pleads guilty to trying to use a weapon of mass destruction
Nafis had been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction
His arrest was the "culmination of an undercover operation"
Nafis thought he was going to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man who planned to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York expressed regrets over his failed plot Thursday and said he no longer supports violent jihad.
Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis’ comments came in a statement he read in federal court in Brooklyn, where he pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
“We take what he said at face value,” said Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “His remorse might be a factor in the sentencing.”
Nafis, who believed he was about to detonate 1,000-pound bomb in front of the iconic building just before his arrest, could face a maximum life sentence and up to $250,000 in fines.
He was arrested during a sting operation October 17.
It’s not clear whether Nafis actually maintained al Qaeda ties, as prosecutors allege, and his attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.
One of the people Nafis apparently contacted was an FBI source to whom he proposed multiple targets, including a high-ranking U.S. official as well as the New York Stock Exchange, authorities said in a statement released after his arrest.
The undercover agent, they say, provided bags of inert explosives to Nafis, who then stored the material in a warehouse in preparation for the strike.
They say Nafis further divulged a “Plan B” that involved carrying out a suicide attack should police thwart his efforts.
Packing his van with what he believed were explosives, Nafis then allegedly traveled with the undercover agent to Manhattan’s financial district, attached a detonator to the material and recorded a video statement in a nearby hotel before trying to detonate the fake explosives.
His arrest was the “culmination of an undercover operation” in which he was monitored by NYPD detectives and the FBI New York Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
CNN’s Sonia Kennebeck contributed to this report