Jurors in New York Thursday convicted a man in connection with a failed plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport. The suspect, Kareem Ibrahim, is a Trinidadian who allegedly joined the plan in May 2007 and tried to convince his co-conspirators to reach out to Iran for financial and logistical help. A government informant, Steven Francis, infiltrated the group and recorded its conversations, assisting authorities in foiling the plot before it materialized.
The initial plan for the attack was devised by Russell Defreitas, a former cargo worker at JFK Airport. His idea was to blow up fuel lines and tanks to bring down "the whole of Kennedy," according to a recorded conversation. Defreitas, along with two other co-conspirators, have already been sentenced in the case. Ibrahim faces life in prison when he is sentenced in October.
Prior to Ibrahim's recommendation to contact Iran, the plot members sought the assistance of Abu Bakr, leader of the group Jamaat Al Muslimeen ( JAM), Assistant U.S. Attorney Zainab Ahmad told jurors. JAM was responsible for a 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad that resulted in two dozen deaths. The JFK plotters hoped to either receive direct support from JAM or to use JAM to get in contact with Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, an al-Qaida operative who is wanted in connection with terrorist attacks against the United States.
Ibrahim advised the group not to work with JAM and instead told Defreitas that he was sending "an associate" to travel overseas to garner support for the plan, according to the June 2007 criminal complaint under which he was arrested. The associate, Kadir, was arrested on the plane en route to Iran, although Defense Attorney Michael Hueston argued that there was no evidence to support the claim that Ibrahim recruited Kadir to travel to Iran to get aid for his mission.
"Why doesn't he [Ibrahim] mention it?" Hueston said. "Because it never happened."