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July 11, 2012

Man to plead guilty in alleged bomb plot

BOSTON (UPI) -- A Massachusetts man has agreed to plead guilty to plotting to crash remote-controlled planes packed with plastic explosives into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

Documents filed in federal court in Boston Tuesday indicate Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland is to plead guilty to federal charges of attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and a terrorist organization, the Boston Globe reported.

Under a plea agreement, Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate in his late 20s, would be sentenced to 17 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release once out of prison.

Ferdaus was arrested in September. The Globe said FBI agents posing as al-Qaida recruiters began an undercover investigation that lasted at least nine months and led to accusations Ferdaus had modified 12 cellphones into control switches for improvised-explosive devices that would be used to kill U.S. military personnel.

Federal court records state Ferdaus planned to launch three remote-controlled planes, each about 5 feet long and packed with explosives, into federal buildings. Prosecutors say a six-man team was to shoot anyone who fled the buildings.

The Globe said undercover FBI agents gave Ferdaus money to buy the planes, explosives, three grenades and six AK-47 assault rifles. Authorities said he was arrested after he locked the explosives and guns in a Framingham storage facility he rented.

Ferdaus' defense attorneys had argued in an earlier court hearing he is mentally ill.

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