A New York man pleaded guilty Wednesday to plotting an attack on American police and soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Jose Pimentel (a/k/a Muhammad Yousuf), a Dominican convert to Islam living in Harlem, wanted to use homemade pipe bombs in the attack.
According to the original criminal complaint, Pimentel’s website, trueislam1.com, advocated violence against Americans. For example, an article titled, “Why Usamah Ibn [sic] Laden is the Leader of the Believers,” said that “People have to understand that America and its allies are all legitimate targets of warfare. This includes, facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made to help fund the war.”
In recorded conversations with a government informant, Pimentel discussed targeting Americans using explosive devices, including killing returning marines and soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He suggested buying bomb components from Home Depot. “That is what I really want to get into because it’s so cheap and it could do a lot of damage,” Pimentel said in a September 2011 conversation. “[A]nd then that’s something worth going to jail for, you know. Like, if you get caught because you blew up half of a side of a police station.”
A month later, he said Muslims in the West “don’t have any excuse for not blowing shit up, and being, doing like how we do bro. At the end of the day, you know what I’m saying, when you can make a bomb with like 20 to 30 to 40 dollars.”
Pimentel is the second person prosecuted under New York State’s anti-terror law passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Ahmed Ferhani, who plotted to blow up New York synagogues, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to terror-related charges.
“Manhattan continues to be the symbol of much that terrorists hate about the United States, so we remain a principal world target for terrorist attacks, both at home and from abroad,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said in a press release announcing Pimentel’s plea.
Pimentel’s sentencing is scheduled for March 25. His plea deal proposes a sentence of 16 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He has already served two years in jail.