An army of FBI agents executed search warrants at several locations on Long Island, New Jersey and in the Boston suburbs this morning in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing, authorities said.
Attorney General Eric Holder has told Congress that “several people” have been taken into custody for immigration violations in the case.
“They do not relate to any known immediate threat. … This is part of an ongoing investigation,” he said.
In describing the development at a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, Holder said the arrests came as investigators looking into the bombing attempt executed search warrants.
Admitted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad
A law enforcement investigator carries a box as he steps out of a home in Watertown, Mass. Federal agents arrested two people and are searching locations in Massachusetts and New York on Thursday in connection with the failed Times Square car bomb.
Earlier in the day, FBI spokeswoman FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said the searches stemmed from evidence gathered in the investigation pertaining to Faisal Shahzad, who tried to detonate an SUV loaded with explosives on a crowded street two weeks ago in Times Square.
FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents executed search warrants in “several locations in the Northeast,” according to a statement from ICE.
Four people — two on Long Island and two in the Boston area — have been taken into custody on alleged immigration violations in connection with the raids. Another location targeted by the feds is a print shop in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The FBI would not elaborate on the raids, although sources said those brought into custody helped in financing the attack.
“These searches are the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation subsequent to the attempted Times Square bombing and do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States,” said ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
The FBI would not confirm any addresses or locations, but Fox News reported that one of the raids was made in Watertown, right outside Boston. A law enforcement source told The Post that two others were picked up on Long Island.
Vinny Lacerra, 50, who lives across the street from the house raided in Watertown, said he was in his living room at 6 a.m. when he heard somebody shout: “FBI! Put your hands up!”
Lacerra told The Associated Press that he looked out his windows and saw 15 to 20 FBI agents with their guns drawn surrounding the house. He said about 15 minutes later, the agents went inside and came out with one man handcuffed and took him down the street.
“I was surprised to see this because this is what you see on TV,” said Lacerra.
A Mobil gas station in Brookline, another Boston suburb, was also raided.
The entrances and exits to the station were cordoned off by yellow tape as FBI agents searched a silver Honda in the parking lot.
Shahzad, 30, was arrested two days after the botched May 1 attack trying to board a flight at Kennedy Airport to his native Pakistan.
Authorities have said that Shahzad, who lived in Connecticut, has been cooperating with federal officials. He has yet to appear in court to face terrorism-related charges.
Shahzad was born in Pakistan and became a US citizen last year.
Shahzad “was working at [Pakistani Taliban’s] direction,” Holder said on ABC’s “This Week” this past Sunday.
For the Taliban, the failed bombing would represent their first effort to attack on US soil.
The revelation of Taliban involvement followed reports of a suspected US missile strike earlier this week targeting militant leaders in a Taliban stronghold in northwestern Pakistan. Intelligence officials said the drone attack killed 10 people in a house in North Waziristan, the region where Shahzad claimed he had trained at a militant camp.
Shahzad’s plot failed because he put a non-explosive fertilizer in his homemade weapon of mass destruction, and used the wrong fireworks to ignite the potentially deadly device.
He bought the incendiaries two months ago from a shop in Matamoros, Pa., whose owner told The Post that Shahzad clearly had no clue what he was doing. The fireworks — M-88 Silver Salutes — will explode only if they are individually lit.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/fbi_searches_boston_area_homes_in_8pAq7l7jqEI339pjXh1fbJ#ixzz0npKNC7Zq