Tag Archives: indictment

20-year-old Flushing man indicted for terrorism support


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A 20-year-old Queens man was indicted this week for his support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and for wielding a knife at a federal officer, officials announced.

A federal grand jury in Brooklyn handed down the indictment on Monday charging Munther Omar Saleh, reportedly of Flushing, with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, and assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The indictment accuses Saleh not only of conspiring to “provide material support to ISIL” but also of devising “a plan to conduct an attack in New York,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said. Authorities believe he was preparing to specifically detonate a pressure cooker bomb in the New York metropolitan area on behalf of ISIL.

In a criminal complaint filed upon his June arrest, Saleh, a U.S. citizen who enrolled in a Queens college specializing in aeronautics in January, demonstrated his “violent jihadists beliefs” and support of ISIL through his online activities.

That online activity included tweets in support of recent terrorist attacks, translating propaganda materials to English for ISIL, and a May 7 email to himself that contained information about the construction of a pressure cooker bomb and searches for parts that could be used in an explosive device.

Authorities also believe that his activities revealed a “continuing effort to conduct a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIL, including by learning how to construct and detonate an explosive device,” according to court documents.

There were additionally searches of New York City landmarks and tourist attractions, surveillance cameras, weapons, ammunition, remote control helicopters and drones that piqued law enforcement interest.

Saleh and another individual were arrested on June 13 near 20th Avenue and the Whitestone Expressway after they allegedly charged at a federal officer while armed with knives.

The same indictment also charges Fareed Mumuni, a 21-year-old Staten Island resident and U.S. citizen, with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, assault and conspiracy to assault federal officers, and attempted murder of federal officers.

Authorities arrested Mumuni  just days after Saleh, reportedly believing they both conspired to provide support to ISIL and planned to carry out an attack on New York.

During the execution of a search warrant on Saleh’s home, he allegedly tried to repeatedly stab a FBI agent in the torso with a large kitchen knife, and was arrested. The agent was wearing body armor and reportedly suffered only minor injuries.

Both men’s arraignments are scheduled for Aug. 20. If convicted, Mumuni faces a maximum sentence of 85 years imprisonment and Saleh faces a maximum sentence of 65 years.

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First-degree murder indictment for alleged Queens Village cop killer


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:08 p.m.

A Queens Village man accused of fatally shooting a police officer last month pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to an indictment that includes first-degree murder charges, District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of 212th Place allegedly shot P.O. Brian Moore as the officer and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, approached him in their unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2. Moore was struck in the head and died two days later at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Blackwell was arrested hours after the shooting and remains in custody. He appeared in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon before Judge Joseph Zayas for arraignment on a 12-count indictment that includes charges of first-degree murder, aggravated murder and attempted murder; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and drug possession charges.

If convicted, Blackwell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole — the maximum sentence under New York State law. He remains held without bail and was ordered to return to court on Sept. 17.

“The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day — and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make — as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Moore and Jansen, both assigned to the 105th Precinct, were riding in the unmarked car along 104th Road near 212th Street in Queens Village at 6:15 p.m. on May 2 when they allegedly observed Blackwell adjusting his waistband, law enforcement sources said.

The officers then pulled up alongside Blackwell to question him when he allegedly pulled a black firearm out of his waistband and opened fire on the officers, according to police. Moore sustained two gunshot wounds to his head; Jansen was uninjured.

Following the shooting, Blackwell — in an attempt to alter his appearance — stole a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers, prosecutors said. Police, however, caught up to him later that night at his home. The gun he allegedly used — a silver revolver reported stolen from Georgia in 2011 — was also recovered.

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Former park administrator Estelle Cooper indicted on grand larceny


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Former Queens Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper has been indicted on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing over $50,000 from a nonprofit conservancy group she helped start, according to the district attorney.

Cooper, 82, of Whitestone was arraigned on Tuesday, July 17 in Queens Supreme Court on a two-count indictment charging her with second- and third-degree grand larceny. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and was released on her own recognizance, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

She is ordered to return to court on September 12.

Cooper, a former administrator of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and assistant commissioner with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, spent 18 years overseeing the large park before resigning in January. She also ran Unisphere Inc., a nonprofit conservancy group she had a huge hand in establishing to fund activities at the park, before stepping down in December 2011.

The alleged fraud was initially discovered in November 2011 as a result of an internal audit conducted by Unisphere, Inc., Brown said. The group’s accountant, Phil Ragusa, said he noticed things were not lining up for 2010 after crunching Unisphere’s numbers. Requests he made to Cooper to check the books for discrepancies were denied, Ragusa said, and information was finally attained through the 501(c)(3) organization’s bank.

The differential was mainly through unauthorized ATM withdrawals that came close to $100,000, he said. The group’s board of directors then hired a lawyer and turned the case over to the Queens district attorney’s office in February.

A Queens County grand jury charged Cooper obtained access to Unisphere funds and then systematically stole over $50,000 between November 1, 2007 and December 31, 2011.

“It’s a sad day,” Ragusa said of the indictment.

Calls to board members were not answered at deadline, and a number for Cooper had been disconnected.

Additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen