(ICE Removal Statement from The US ICE on 08 July 2022.)
Mohammed Wali Zazi, 66, was convicted of visa fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice in February 2012. Zazi entered the United States Aug. 8, 1990, and became a naturalized citizen, Oct. 23, 2007.
A U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York convicted Zazi for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and visa fraud Feb. 10, 2012. He was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison.
Zazi’s naturalization was revoked Nov. 30, 2018, by the U.S. Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and his Certificate of Naturalization was cancelled. He was issued a Notice to Appear July 30, 2019, in Centennial, Colorado. The Immigration Judge in Denver denied any relief to Zazi and ordered him removed to Afghanistan, Feb. 4, 2022.
ICE’s ERO escorted Zazi on his removal from the United States, and Zazi arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan via the Hamid Karzai International Airport. Zazi’s son, Najibullah Zazi, is a member of al-Qa’ida and was convicted of conspiring to bomb the New York subway in 2009.
Father of would-be NYC subway bomber sentenced
The father of the convicted would-be suicide bomber who planned to detonate explosives in New York City subways was sentenced Friday (February 2012) to four and half years in prison on charges that he obstructed a terrorism investigation and intentionally misled authorities.
A federal judge handed Mohammed Wali Zazi, the father of Najibullah Zazi, four years for obstruction of justice and six months on charges of visa fraud, prosecutors said. He had faced the prospect of up to 40 years behind bars.
The elder Zazi was found guilty in July of destroying bomb-making materials and conspiring to obstruct the federal investigation into his son's and co-conspirators' planned attack on the city's subway system.
Zazi's then-attorney, Justine Harris, had argued that his client was unaware that his son was planning to blow up subway stations with bombs planted in backpacks. Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty to planning the attacks in February 2010. But prosecutor Andrew Goldsmith said the elder Zazi knew exactly what he was doing as he misled investigators.
The assistant U.S. attorney told jurors that the father tried to cover up his son's tracks by destroying valuable evidence, lying to FBI agents about people he knew and tipping off other suspects. "(Zazi) is not charged with being a terrorist," Goldsmith said. "But he lied, and that is a crime."
A relative, identified as Amanullah Zazi, has admitted to helping Najibullah get terror training in northwest Pakistan's Waziristan region, part of a volatile tribal area on the Afghan border. He pleaded guilty to related charges and cooperated with the government.
He also testified in Mohammed Wali Zazi's trial that the elder Zazi told him FBI agents were looking for him and three other men and told him to destroy chemicals that might be part of any investigation.
Najibullah Zazi told authorities that while at the terrorist training camp, he "had discussions with al Qaeda about targets including the New York City subway system." Those attacks were planned for September 2009, prosecutors said.
A plot to bomb a New York City subway
Najibullah Zazi, an Afghanistan native who had been living in Colorado, was arrested in September 2009 after having driven to New York with materials to build bombs.
In the years prior, he had traveled to Pakistan and "conspired with others to join the Taliban, to fight along with the Taliban against the United States," Zazi said at his guilty plea in 2010. "We were recruited to al Qaeda instead."
According to prosecutors, Zazi and two others had gone to Pakistan "to wage jihad (violent struggle) against American and coalition forces in Afghanistan."
At a terrorist training camp in northwest Pakistan's Waziristan region along the Afghan border, Zazi "had discussions with al Qaeda about targets including the New York City subway system," he disclosed during his plea proceeding.
He had learned how to make explosives at the camp, he said at the time, and had emailed himself bombmaking instructions to use once he returned to the United States. He took several trips to New York for planning purposes before making the final trip from Denver on September 10, 2009, to carry out the plot, according to statements he made at his plea.
But Zazi, who had been under surveillance by federal authorities for months before his arrest, wasn't alone. Agents had followed him as he drove from Denver to New York. After Zazi arrived, he and his co-conspirators realized they were being investigated, and threw away their bombmaking materials.
The US attorney general at the time of the foiled plot, Eric Holder, called it "one of the most serious threats to our nation since September 11, 2001" and said upon Zazi's arrest that "there is no doubt that American lives were saved."