Times Square Case Prompts Raids in Northeast

Times Square Case Prompts Raids in Northeast


Federal agents raided homes and took three men into custody in four states Thursday, as part of their investigation into this month’s attempted bombing in New York’s Times Square.

The agents believe the men provided the suspected car bomber, Faisal Shahzad, with money to build and deliver the dud bomb, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants near Boston, on Long Island, N.Y., and in Camden and Cherry Hill, N.J. Two of the men were apprehended after a raid in Watertown, Mass. A third was taken into custody in Maine, but officials wouldn’t say in which part of the state.

Raids in Failed Times Squre Plot

Federal officials conducted raids in several Northeast locations Thursday in connection with the failed May 1 attempt to bomb Times Square

Associated Press

FBI investigators enter a home in Watertown, Mass.

The three men weren’t identified but were being detained on suspicion of immigration violations, said Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Based in part on statements made by Mr. Shahzad since he was captured and began cooperating with investigators, authorities believe the men in question may have helped him obtain more than $10,000 in the past few months.

That allowed him to buy the rusty Nissan Pathfinder SUV used to carry the bomb, as well as the bomb components, and to pay rent in Connecticut. He allegedly left the crude bomb smoking in the Pathfinder, parked in Times Square on the evening of May 1.

At a news conference Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said there was evidence the men being held provided Mr. Shahzad with money.

Authorities in Boston were searching a location in Watertown, Massachusetts in connection with the failed Times Square bombing in New York City.

“One of the things we are going to be trying to determine” is whether the men knew they were helping finance a terror attack, Mr. Holder said.

Mr. Shahzad was taken into custody as he was about to fly back to his native Pakistan. He immediately began cooperating with investigators. For example, he told them that he had received bomb-making training in Pakistan, according to law enforcement officials.

He has also said that once he arrived in the U.S., he acted alone in building the bomb and bringing it to Times Square, according to officials.

But authorities are still chasing leads to verify Mr. Shahzad’s account and see how much of what he says about his contacts, both here and in Pakistan, is true.

Mr. Shahzad has repeatedly waived court appearances as he continues to cooperate with investigators.

The married father of two attended college in Connecticut and became a U.S. citizen last year.

Sending money informally across international borders is a common practice in immigrant communities, and investigators have yet to find evidence indicating the funding facilitators knew what Mr. Shahzad was planning, the officials said. They hope to learn enough to determine the ultimate source of Mr. Shahzad’s funding.

The raids represent another step in a continuing investigation, not the resolution of unanswered questions, one official said.

Senior officials in the Obama administration have said the plot was backed by the Pakistan Taliban. That would be a major expansion of the group’s ambitions and reach.

A 30-year-old U.S. citizen, Mr. Shahzad returned to the U.S. from Pakistan in February. Authorities say he began building his bomb in March.

Even as Thursday’s raids were carried out, authorities emphasized that they knew of no new threat of an attack or terrorist plot in progress.

Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Boston field office, said search warrants had been executed in “several locations in the Northeast in connection with the investigation of the Times Square bombing.”

She said the searches don’t involve “any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States.”

—Evan Perez and Keith Johnson contributed to this article.

Write to Devlin Barrett at devlin.barrett@wsj.com

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