LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant-Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner for the City of New York, HARRY J. CORBITT, the Superintendent of the New York State Police ("NYSP"), and DANA SIMMONS, the Brigadier General of the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations ("AFOSI"), announced the arrests tonight of JAMES CROMITIE, a/k/a "Abdul Rahman," a/k/a "Abdul Rehman," DAVID WILLIAMS, a/k/a "Daoud," a/k/a "DL," ONTA WILLIAMS, a/k/a "Hamza," and LAGUERRE PAYEN, a/k/a "Amin," a/k/a "Almondo," on charges arising from a plot to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York, and to shoot military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York, with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles.
In their efforts to obtain weapons, the defendants dealt with an informant acting under law enforcement supervision, and the FBI and other agencies monitored the defendants' actions up to the time of arrest, including providing an inactive missile and inert explosives to the informant for the defendants.
In June 2008, an informant working with the FBI met CROMITIE in Newburgh, New York. CROMITIE explained to the informant that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and that he was upset about the war there and that many Muslim people were being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the United States Military forces. One of the suspects, James Cromitie, a k a Abdul Rahman, bragged that blowing up the synagogues would be a “piece of cake,” the feds said.
“I hate those motherf – - -ers, those f – - -ing Jewish bastards . . . I would like to get a Jewish synagogue,” Cromitie told an informant, according to a criminal complaint.
CROMITIE expressed interest in returning to Afghanistan and spoke to the CW about how if he,CROMITIE, were to die a martyr, he would go to "paradise." CROMITIE also expressed an interest in doing "something to America." The following month, CROMITIE and the informant discussed the organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization based in Pakistan, with which the informant claimed to be involved. CROMITIE stated to the informant that he, CROMITIE, would be interested in joining Jaish-e-Mohammed to "do jihad."
Beginning in October 2008, the informant began meeting with CROMITIE at a house in Newburgh, New York that the FBI had equipped with concealed video and audio equipment. During meetings at this location, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and PAYEN discussed their desire to attack certain targets in New York, including a synagogue in the Bronx and military aircraft located at the Air National Guard Base. CROMITIE asked the informant to supply surface-to-air guided missiles and explosives for the planned operations. The informant responded that he could provide CROMITIE with C-4 plastic explosives.
Beginning in April 2009, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and PAYEN selected the synagogue and Jewish community center they intended to target, and conducted surveillance, including photographs, of military planes at the Air National Guard Base. In late April 2009, CROMITIE and DAVID WILLIAMS purchased a 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol for use during the planned terrorist operations. At around the same time, CROMITIE and DAVID WILLIAMS traveled to the location from which they could shoot at the military planes using surface-toair guided missiles.
In early May 2009, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and PAYEN drove with the informant toward Stamford, Connecticut, to obtain what the defendants were told would be a surface-to-air guided missile system and three improvised explosive devices ("IEDs") containing C-4 plastic explosive material. The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, had met in prison. Mr. Cromitie, 53, who authorities described as the plot’s leader, had lived in Brooklyn and had as many as 27 arrests for minor crimes both in upstate New York and in New York City, Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Cromitie, David Williams, and Onta Williams were native-born Americans, while Mr. Payen was born in Haiti and is a Haitian citizen
The informant also provided three IEDs that each contained over 30 pounds of inert C-4 plastic explosives, again telling the defendants that he had obtained them from Jaish-e-Mohammed. CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and PAYEN transported these apparent weapons back to Newburgh.
Two days later, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and PAYEN met to inspect the "missile system" and the "explosive devices" and to further discuss the logistics of the operation.
As alleged in the Complaint, the defendants wanted to engage in terrorist attacks. They selected targets and sought the weapons necessary to carry out their plans. Fortunately, the defendants sought the assistance of a witness cooperating with the Government. While the weapons provided to the defendants by the cooperating witness were fake, the defendants thought they were absolutely real," said Acting United States Attorney LEV L. DASSIN.