JFK bomb plotter sentenced to life

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on February 18, 2011

A man from Guyana who plotted to blow up JFK Airport has been handed down a life sentence. Russell Defreitas, 67, who was found guilty last summer, hoped his plan to plant explosives on fuel tanks and in underground tunnels at the airport would rival the 9/11 terrorists attacks of 2001.

The cargo holder was convicted last year alongside Adbul Kadir, a former member of parliament in his home country of Guyana. He was also sentenced to life in prison after covert recordings obtained by a police informant led to him being found guilty of terrorism charges.

Lawyers for Defreitas are planning to appeal the sentence, claiming the airport worker was egged on by the informant and only fanaticised about attacking the busy passenger hub. The court ruled, however, that the pair had planned to blow up fuel tanks at the facility, potentially costing hundreds of lives.

The court also heard how Defreitas and Kadir had taken photographs and videos of their potential targets, surveyed the airport’s security systems and planned their escape routes. They were also found to have links to militant Muslims and at least one al-Qaeda member.

Conversations between the two men were recorded by a government informant who had been convicted of drugs trafficking. He agreed to befriend the pair and pass on information in exchange for a lesser sentence.

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