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Former Guyanese lawmaker jailed for life in JFK airport bomb plot

By Sophia Chang
Newsday

NEW YORK, USA (MCT) — The alleged mastermind of a terrorist plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at Kennedy Airport was sentenced on Thursday to life in federal prison.

Russell DeFreitas, 67, a former cargo handler at the airport, was convicted of five counts of conspiracy and a charge of surveillance of a mass-transit facility on Aug. 2.

During the sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn, Judge Dora Irizarry said DeFreitas was a “true believer” who was the leader of the aborted plot.

“He’s the one who has been dreaming about this for many years,” the judge said.

Before she imposed the sentence, Irizarry asked DeFreitas if wanted to comment.

DeFreitas said, “No, your Honor. I think it’s been already said.”

Federal prosecutors said DeFreitas and his co-defendants, Guyanese politician Abdul Kadir and Guyanese national Abdel Nur, plotted in 2006 and 2007 to destroy the fuel supply and pipelines at the airport — calling the plot “Shining Light” for the massive explosion they hoped to trigger.

DeFreitas’ lawyer Mildred Whalen tried to downplay his involvement in the plot and noted that the plot never turned into action.

“He talked a big game,” she told Irizarry on Thursday. “This is just talk.”

Nur, 60, was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison. Kadir was sentenced to life in prison.

Although the plot was penetrated by an FBI mole for more than a year and the plotters foundered in trying to develop an operational plan — even discussing fantastical schemes involving rats and ninjas — prosecutors contended efforts to get support from Caribbean terror groups, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Iran made it a serious threat.

(c) 2011, Newsday.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Sophia Chang
Newsday

NEW YORK, USA (MCT) — The alleged mastermind of a terrorist plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at Kennedy Airport was sentenced on Thursday to life in federal prison.

Russell DeFreitas, 67, a former cargo handler at the airport, was convicted of five counts of conspiracy and a charge of surveillance of a mass-transit facility on Aug. 2.

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During the sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn, Judge Dora Irizarry said DeFreitas was a “true believer” who was the leader of the aborted plot.

“He’s the one who has been dreaming about this for many years,” the judge said.

Before she imposed the sentence, Irizarry asked DeFreitas if wanted to comment.

DeFreitas said, “No, your Honor. I think it’s been already said.”

Federal prosecutors said DeFreitas and his co-defendants, Guyanese politician Abdul Kadir and Guyanese national Abdel Nur, plotted in 2006 and 2007 to destroy the fuel supply and pipelines at the airport — calling the plot “Shining Light” for the massive explosion they hoped to trigger.

DeFreitas’ lawyer Mildred Whalen tried to downplay his involvement in the plot and noted that the plot never turned into action.

“He talked a big game,” she told Irizarry on Thursday. “This is just talk.”

Nur, 60, was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison. Kadir was sentenced to life in prison.

Although the plot was penetrated by an FBI mole for more than a year and the plotters foundered in trying to develop an operational plan — even discussing fantastical schemes involving rats and ninjas — prosecutors contended efforts to get support from Caribbean terror groups, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Iran made it a serious threat.

(c) 2011, Newsday.