Terrorism hit home in September 2009, when Aurora shuttle driver Najibullah Zazi was accused of conspiring to blow up the New York City subway system with homemade bombs made from beauty supplies in an al Qaida-authorized "martyrdom operation." Today, Mohammed Zazi, his father, will be sentenced for his role.
The elder Zazi, a 55-year-old U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan, was also living in Aurora in 2009, has been been out on bail since he was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in July. He was arrested on September 19, 2009, and indicted on October 8 for allegedly making a "materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" (read the original indictment here). Specifically, he told the FBI that he hadn't been on a call talking about whether his son was in trouble.
And Najibullah Zazi was. In February 2010, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and counts of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. Specifically, after a trip to Pakistan, he'd gone to an Aurora beauty supply company to get chemicals that could be used to create explosives. And in September 2009, he'd driven to New York City with a goal of blowing up the subway system -- then returned to Colorado after he learned he was being watched by the FBI, who nabbed him here.
The charges against Mohammed Zazi were later expanded to include destroying evidence; in a separate case, he was accused of immigration fraud. The initial charge carried a prison term of up to eight years. Today, he could be sentenced to up to forty -- which means he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Colorado has other terrorism connections beyond the role of the Zazi family. Get more details in "9/11 anniversary: Top 10 terrorists with Colorado connections."