A Massachusetts man agreed to plead guilty to charges that he planned to blow up the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and provided support to terrorists.
Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, of Ashland, Massachusetts, will plead guilty to two counts, according to a federal court filing in Boston today. Four other charges will be dropped. Ferdaus agreed to a recommended sentence of 17 years in prison plus 10 years of supervised release.
Ferdaus, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Northeastern University, will admit he planned to crash remote-controlled planes filled with explosives into the federal buildings and provided material support to al-Qaeda by turning mobile phones into detonators, according to court papers. He supplied 12 mobile phones modified to act as switches for explosives to undercover federal agents, the prosecutors said.
A change-of-plea hearing will be conducted July 20 by U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns in Boston. Ferdaus pleaded not guilty to the six charges in October.
He was arrested in September after a sting operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He made a video on how to turn a mobile phone into a detonator, the prosecutors said.
The arrest came after he stored explosives and weapons delivered by undercover agents. They included 25 pounds of what he thought were C-4 plastic explosives, six automatic AK-47 machine guns and three grenades.
Miriam Conrad, the federal defender who is Ferdaus’s attorney, argued in court that the FBI pursued the sting despite signs that Ferdaus was mentally ill and his attempts to break off communications with the agents. Conrad didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment on the plea.
Ferdaus has been held without bail. When he acquired a remote-controlled plane, he used as an alias the name Dave Winfield.
The case is U.S. v. Ferdaus, 11-10331, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).