[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that suspected terrorist Najibullah Zazi has been charged [indictment, PDF] with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. A federal jury in the Eastern District of New York returned the one-count indictment Wednesday, alleging that Zazi conspired to bomb targets in the US. In a memorandum [text, PDF] in support of its motion for detention, the government alleged:
The evidence at trial will prove that the defendant conspired with others to detonate improvised explosive devices within the United States. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Zazi received detailed bomb-making instructions in Pakistan, purchased components of improvised explosive devices, and traveled to New York City on September 10, 2009 in furtherance of his criminal plans.
If convicted, Zazi could face up to life in prison.
Zazi, a native of Afghanistan, was arrested [BBC report] by FBI agents last week in Colorado. He was originally charged with making false statements to the FBI, but those charges are expected to be dropped in light of the new charge. Zazi's father, Mohammed Zazi, and a third man, Ahmad Wais Afzali, were also arrested. Mohammed Zazi was released [WSJ report] Thursday under court supervision, and Afzali is also expected to be released.