Jose Pimentel is arraigned at Manhattan criminal court, Nov. 20, 2011, in New York. / Pool,AP Photo/Jefferson Siegel
Updated 12:17 AM EST
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday an "al Qaeda sympathizer" who plotted to bomb police and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home has been arrested on numerous terrorism-related charges.
Bloomberg announced at a news conference the Saturday arrest of 27-year-old Jose Pimentel of Manhattan, a U.S. citizen originally from the Dominican Republic.
The mayor said Pimentel was "plotting to bomb police patrol cars and also postal facilities as well as targeted members of our armed services returning from abroad." But authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else, the mayor said.
"He appears to be a total lone wolf," Bloomberg said.
Pimentel was motivated by his resentement of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, fueled by al Qaeda propaganda, the mayor said. "He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad." However, Bloomberg said Pimentel represents the type of threat FBI Director Robert Mueller has warned about as U.S. forces erode the ability of terrorists to carry out large scale attacks.
Pimentel is accused of having an explosive substance Saturday when he was arrested that he planned to use against others and property to terrorize the public. The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least a year, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.
At Pimentel's arraignment later, his lawyer Joseph Zablocki said his behavior leading up to the arrest was not that of a conspirator trying to conceal some violent scheme. Zablocki said Pimentel was public about his activities and was not trying to hide anything.
"I don't believe that this case is nearly as strong as the people believe," Zablocki said. "He (Pimentel) has this very public online profile ... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist attack."
Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was denied bail and remained in police custody. The bearded, bespectacled man wore a black T-shirt and black drawstring pants and smiled at times during the proceeding.
A criminal complaint was filed by the Manhattan District Attorney, which stated that Pimental had a web site whose article is titled "Why Osama bin Laden is the leader of the Believers," which said: "People have to understand that America and its allies are legitimate targets in warfare. This includes, facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made to help fund the war."
The complaint reveals the Pimentel made numerous incriminating statements to a confidential informant during a 12-month investigation. On Sept. 7, Pimentel allegedly told the informant he was interested building small bombs targeting government or police buildings and banks. Three weeks later, he allegedly gave the informant a flash drives containing two bomb-making manuals.
With the informant, Pimentel bought bomb components depicted in articles in the al Qaeda's online magazine "Inspire," including a clock at a 99-cent store in Manhattan and a elbow piping, work gloves, and Christmas lights at a Home Depot in the Bronx. Following the instructions in "Inspire," Pimentel allegedly drilled holes in the three pipes, scraped the match heads "incendiary" powder, and used the Christmas lights as detonator wire, according to the complaint.
"This is just another example of New York City because we are an iconic city ... this is a city that people would want to take away our freedoms gravitate to and focus on," Bloomberg said.
The New York Police Department's Intelligence Division was involved in the arrest. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Pimentel spent most of his years in Manhattan and lived about five years in Schenectady.
Asked why federal authorities were not involved in the case, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there was communication with them but his office felt that given the timeline "it was appropriate to proceed under state charges."