2 arrested in Times Sq. probe

FBI conduct searches in Boston area, Long Island, New Jersey.

May 13, 2010 22:56
1 minute read.
FBI investigators search a car at a service statio

FBI ssearch car. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WATERTOWN, Massachusetts — Federal agents conducted Thursday morning raids in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey in connection with the failed Times Square car bomb and arrested two Pakistani men who provided money to suspect Faisal Shahzad, law enforcement officials said.

The searches were the product of evidence gathered in the investigation into the Times Square bomb attempt two weeks ago, but there was "no known immediate threat to the public or any active plot against the United States," FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said.

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The two Boston-area men had a "direct connection" to Pakistani-American suspect Faisal Shahzad, said a top Massachusetts law enforcement official. They are believed to have provided money to him, but investigators weren't sure whether they were witting accomplices or simply moving funds, as is common among people from the Middle East and Central Asia who live in the US, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

"These people might be completely innocent and not know what they were providing money for, but it's clear there's a connection," the official said.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said one of the men had overstayed his visa. The government had already begun proceedings to remove the other man from the country; he was awaiting a ruling from an immigration court.

Police cordoned off a small house in Watertown, a suburb about 16 kilometers west of Boston, and a neighbor reported seeing an FBI raid there. Additional searches of residences and vehicles were conducted in Brookline, another Boston suburb, Centereach and Shirley, New York, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Shahzad, a US citizen born in Pakistan, has not yet appeared in court. Federal investigators say he has been cooperating and has told them he received weapons training in Pakistan.

Islamabad has said it was too early to say whether the Pakistani Taliban, which operates from the country's lawless northwest tribal region, was behind the Times Square plot although the US said it found a definite link. But Pakistan promised to cooperate with the investigation and has detained at least four people with alleged connections to suspect Faisal Shahzad.

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