NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As authorities continue to investigate a terror plot involving the Federal Reserve Bank, more is being learned about the suspect, who allegedly tried to detonate a fake bomb Wednesday.
The suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, arrived in the United States only nine months ago. He was on a student visa, but, according to investigators, the only thing he was interested in learning was how to inflict damage on Manhattan’s Financial District, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
An FBI affidavit said Nafis wanted to “destroy America” and that “the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America’s economy.”
Nafis came from Bangladesh to the U.S. in January to attend Southeast Missouri State University and pursue a degree in cyber security, CBS 2 has learned. According to sources, Nafis attended for one semester and was transferring to a school in New York.
“This individual came here for the purpose of doing a terrorist act,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters. “He was motivated by al-Qaida, so we see this threat as being with us for a long time.”
Authorities on Wednesday raided the Jamaica, Queens, apartment that Nafis shared with relatives from Bangladesh, carrying out boxes of CDs, DVDs, and other personal items.
“He was a quiet, quiet-talking guy,” said the landlord of the building where Nafis lived. “I didn’t see him nervous.”
The landlord of the modest apartment building on 93rd Street in Jamaica said he would only see Nafis in passing – going in and out, up the stairs to the second floor, or at the apartment door where he would often leave his shoes.
“I knew he lived on the second floor as a guest,” the landlord said. “I asked him how long he was going to stay here; he says he was looking for some places to live.”
Nafis’ neighbors were anxious upon learning of the alleged plot.
“This is crazy right here. I’m glad he’s apprehended though,” one neighbor told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“I’m terrified; horrified about this news,” neighbor Lamia Sikder told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. “I had no idea that whoever this guy is would do that.”
“Of course, it’s scary news, scary news,” added neighbor Mohammad Chowdhery. “This is my country, I feel really bad.”
Investigators painted a disturbing picture of a young man bent on causing a major explosion.
According to a federal complaint, Nafis was aware a bomb planted outside the Federal Reserve Bank would likely cause the deaths of many people, including women and children. However, undercover officers said Nafis simply didn’t care.
Authorities said Nafis was arrested in the Millennium Hotel after attempting to detonate a bomb with a remote.
Right before attempting to set off the bomb, the suspect made a video in which he said, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”
Nafis also said he wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank because it would cripple the United States financial system and he thought the bombing could disrupt the upcoming presidential election, according to the indictment.
By September, federal investigators said Nafis was so excited about his plot he thought it would affect the presidential race, saying, “you know what, this election might even stop.”
Nerves were rattled in lower Manhattan as news of a thwarted terror plot spread. Police with bomb-sniffing dogs blanketed the Financial District, leaving many in the area on edge.
“Oh my God, I’m scared, that’s all. I work around here. I pass here every day,” one woman said.
However, Commissioner Kelly applauded the efforts of the FBI in making the arrest.
“I think the FBI deserves a lot of credit in this case. This case was the result of an investigative effort. They have the right people in the right places to pick up this sort of information,” Kelly said.
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