A convicted drug dealer seeking a reduced sentence helped thwart an alleged Islamist plot to blow up fuel tanks at New York City’s Kennedy International Airport, says USA Today. The paid informant made four surveillance trips to the airport in January with Russell Defreitas, a former Kennedy Airport cargo handler who was the plot’s alleged leader. The informant recorded conversations, downloaded airport images from Google Earth and traveled with Defreitas, 63, to Guyana to enlist the aid of an armed Islamist group, Jamaat al Muslimeen.
Defreitas and three other men, two Guyanese and a citizen of Trinidad, were charged with conspiring to destroy the airport by blowing up fuel lines, fuel tanks and terminal buildings. It was at least the fifth time in two years in which the U.S. government relied on paid informants, some recruited by police, to bring terrorism-related charges against U.S.-based Muslims. FBI spokesman John Miller told ABC News that taking down al-Qaeda-inspired plots is getting more difficult. “When you’re looking at inspired-through-the-Internet, homegrown extremists, well, they can pop up anywhere.”