Woman who plotted to use bomb in US terror attack sentenced to 15 years

Kuzma/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A Queens, New York woman who plotted to build a bomb for a terrorist attack inside the U.S. was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a New York federal judge on Thursday.

Asia Siddiqui and her co-conspirator Noelle Velentzas were arrested in 2015 following a lengthy undercover FBI operation that found the two were directly connected to known or suspected terrorists inside the U.S. and overseas, and had been radicalized at least in part by the terror group ISIS.

“With the sentence imposed by the court, Siddiqui has been held accountable for her crimes," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement Thursday. "Inspired by radical Islam, Siddiqui and her co-defendant researched and taught each other how to construct bombs to be used on American soil against law enforcement and military targets."

Siddiqui plead guilty in August 2019 to a charge of teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction in furtherance of a planned federal crime of violence, according to the statement.

Velentzas, Siddiqui's former roommate, is still awaiting sentencing, according to the Justice Department.

Investigators learned the pair had "taught each other chemistry and electrical skills related to creating explosives and building detonating devices, conducted research on how to make plastic explosives and how to build a car bomb, and shopped for and acquired materials to be used in an explosive device."

They also discussed similar devices used in past terrorist incidents like the Boston Marathon bombing, Oklahoma City bombing, and 1993 World Trade Center attack and researched potential targets of an attack, focusing on law enforcement and military-related targets, federal officials said.

When the two were arrested, investigators seized propane tanks, car bomb instructions, jihadist literature, machetes and several knives from their residences. Authorities said they had moved to arrest them after an undercover agent who was in contact with Siddiqui raised alarm that she might try to move forward with an attack without telling the agent first.

According to court documents, nine years prior to her arrest, Siddiqui was known to be in touch with Samir Khan, an American who joined Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and became an editor of the group's Inspire Magazine. Siddiqui once submitted a poem to the magazine titled, “Take Me to the Lands Where the Eyes Are Cooled," in which she wrote that there is “[n]o excuse to sit back and wait – for the skies rain martyrdom.”

Khan was killed along with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

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Man dies after being zipped into suitcase, girlfriend arrested

Man dies after being zipped into suitcase, girlfriend arrestedOrange County Sheriff's Office(WINTER PARK, Fla.) -- A woman in Florida has been arrested in the death of her boyfriend after she allegedly zipped him into a suitcase and left him there for hours, authorities said.

Sarah Boone, 42, called authorities Monday afternoon to report that her boyfriend, 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr., was dead at her Winter Park home, according to the arrest affidavit. Boone said they were playing hide-and-seek when the couple "jokingly thought it would be funny if Jorge got in the suitcase," and Boone zipped him inside.

Boone said they had been drinking alcohol that night, the affidavit said. She said she then "went upstairs and passed out in her bed."

Boone said she woke up around 11 a.m. when her phone rang multiple times, the affidavit said.

When Boone went downstairs and didn't see her boyfriend anywhere, she "realized that he was possibly still inside the suitcase," the affidavit said. Boone unzipped the suitcase and found Torres unresponsive and not breathing.

When deputies responded to her 911 call, Torres was found lying by the front door near a blue suitcase, the affidavit said. He had a small laceration on his lip and apparent bruising around his eye. Torres was declared dead around 1 p.m.

As authorities investigated, they recovered video from Boone's phone in which Torres was repeatedly yelling out Boone's name, the affidavit said.

Torres was seen on the video pushing on the suitcase, trying to escape, according to the affidavit.

In the video, according to the affidavit, Boone said to Torres, "For everything you've done to me," then laughed and said, "F--- you. Stupid."

Torres repeatedly called out his girlfriend's name, and told her, 'I can't f------ breathe, seriously," the video showed, according to the affidavit. When Torres repeatedly told Boone he couldn't breathe, Boone replied, "That's what I feel like when you cheat on me ... You should probably shut the f--- up."

Arrested: Sarah Boone, 42, for Second Degree Murder in the death of 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr., who died after Boone zipped him into a suitcase, and didn’t return for hours. pic.twitter.com/JCHWG7WNkp

— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) February 26, 2020

Bonne was booked on Wednesday for second-degree murder. She does not yet have an attorney or a court date.

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