A US judge has sentenced a New York man to 25 years for plotting to blow up synagogues and shoot down American military planes.
Laguerre Payen, 29, was convicted in October along with three other New Yorkers in the 2008-2009 plot, which the FBI broke up in a sting operation.
“Laguerre Payen was a willing participant in a plot to use bombs and missiles to target New York synagogues and US military planes,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Payen and the other three men, all sentenced to 25 years in prison, were found to have plotted a jihadist-style assault setting off bombs in Bronx synagogues and using Stinger surface-to-air missiles to down aircraft at a National Guard air base outside New York.
The weapons, including C-4 explosives and the hard-to-get Stingers, were bought through an undercover FBI informant and, unknown to the plotters, had all been made inert by the FBI.
They were arrested on May 13, 2009, just as they were planting what they thought to be bombs, but really were duds, outside two synagogues.
After a two-month trial they were found guilty of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.
“Although these weapons were fake, the defendant believed they were real, and today’s sentence underscores the gravity of these crimes,” Bharara said.
Defence lawyers argued that the FBI had lured the four men into a plot they would otherwise not have attempted to carry out.