A Massachusetts man was sentenced to 17 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for plotting to fly remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol and attempting to provide terrorists with detonation devices.
Rezwan Ferdaus, a 27-year-old Muslim-American from Ashland, was arrested in September 2011 after federal employees posing as al-Qaida members delivered what he believed was 24 pounds of explosives.
The FBI first learned of Ferdaus’s plot while undercover agents posing as al Qaeda recruiters were accepting cell phones he modified to serve as electrical switches for improvised explosive devices to be used overseas, according to court documents.
Ferdaus planned to launch C-4-filled remote-controlled planes from East Potomac Park, authorities said. His plot also included two teams of three people armed with automatic weapons that would fire on the targets following the explosions in order to “take out” everyone amid the chaos.
During the investigation, undercover agents told Ferdaus more than 25 times that it was OK to back out and not carry out the plot, but he repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the plot.
Federal officials said the public was never in danger from the explosives.