Fugitive Canadian ‘Lost Boys of Winnipeg’ Believed to Be in Pakistan
U.S. and Canadian authorities announced new terrorism charges today related to the 2009 plot to bomb New York City’s subway system, an attack which investigators said was averted just days before it had been planned to take place, around the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced the charges against Canadian citizen Ferid Ahmed Imam, who allegedly helped train Najibullah Zazi, the key operative in the plot, and his associates.
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Charges unrelated to the NYC plot were also announced against another Canadian citizen, Maiwand Yar, who investigators said conspired to participate in a terrorist group.
The RCMP alleged that both men traveled to Pakistan in March 2007 before they were to graduate from the University of Manitoba. There, investigators said Imam acted as an instructor to would-be terrorists, including Zazi. Zazi was arrested in Denver in September 2009 and pleaded guilty last year to terrorism charges, admitting that he planned to attack the New York subway system with a series of bombs that he was planning to make.
When he was arrested, after more than a year of surveillance by the FBI, Zazi was found to have chemicals and hydrogen peroxide-based beauty products to make the peroxide bombs. Zazi said he was recruited by al Qaeda in Pakistan and had discussions with al Qaeda about “target locations” in the subways. Two men authorities said worked with Zazi, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, were arrested in January in 2010.
The head of the New York FBI field office, Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk said in a statement, “The three men already charged with conspiring to set off bombs in New York were also charged with receiving overseas training to accomplish that nefarious goal. Among other alleged acts of terrorism, Ferid Imam helped them get that training.”
The charges against Imam and Yar were unsealed on Tuesday as part of the investigation, which Canadian authorities dubbed “Operation Darken.” The two are part of a trio of Canadian men who have been dubbed the “Lost Boys of Winnipeg” according to Canadian press reports, and both men are currently fugitives who officials believe to be in Pakistan. The whereabouts of the third man, Muhannad al-Farekh are unknown.