WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Authorities on Wednesday night arrested four New York men they say formed a homegrown terror plot that targeted Jewish sites and military airplanes.
James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh in Orange County, N.Y., were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, the U.S. Attorney's Office says.
The alleged terror plot was foiled by FBI agents working in concert with local police and a joint terrorism task force. Authorities say the four men apparently attended the same mosque in Newburgh and may have met and converted to Islam in prison.
FBI officials say the three of the four suspects drove to a Stamford warehouse and bought fake a missile system and other weapons from an undercover informant two weeks ago. They were apparently planning use them to shoot down military planes.
Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin says the defendants planned to detonate a car with plastic explosives to destroy the Riverdale Temple and Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx.
They also planned to shoot Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles at planes at the Stewart Air National Guard base in Newburgh.
Authorities say that a hatred of the West and civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan is what caused Cromitie, the alleged ringleader of the group, to tell an FBI informant in June of 2008 that he wanted to strike against the United States.
The FBI and other agencies say they monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to the informant, who provided the mock explosives to the defendants. Federal officials say the group was relatively unsophisticated and believed the weapons were real.
The suspects were arrested Wednesday night, shortly after planting a mock explosive device in the trunk of a car outside the Riverdale Temple and two mock bombs in the back seat of a car outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, authorities say.
AP wire services were used in this report.