4 charged with planning attack on Muslims in New York
23 January 2019|16 Jumadul Ulaa 1440| Anadolu Agency
Three men and one teenager were charged with plotting to attack a Muslim enclave in upstate New York with explosive devices, police said Tuesday.
Police began an investigation into the plot in Greece, New York, after a student showed a picture to another student and said the person in the photo “looks like a school shooter.”
After conducting the investigation, police discovered a plot to attack the Muslim community of Islamberg, New York.
“There was a plan to attack this community with weapons,” said Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan at a news conference.
The Greece Police Department arrested Brian Colaneri, 20, Vincent Vetromile, 19, and Andrew Crysel, 18, on Saturday. All three were charged with three counts of first-degree criminal possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of fourth-degree conspiracy.
Police also arrested and charged a 16-year-old boy in connection to the plot and under a new law are trying him as an adolescent.
Police found a stockpile of 23 weapons as well as three improvised explosive devices (IED), which were found in the home of the 16-year-old.
The IEDs are currently being processed at the FBI laboratory in Virginia.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded federal charges.
“Anyone accused of plotting an act of violence targeting a religious minority should face state and federal hate crime and civil rights charges commensurate with the seriousness of their alleged actions,” CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said in a news release.
Islamberg was founded in the 1980s by Mubarak Ali Gilani, a cleric originally from Pakistan, as a rural enclave for Muslims who were escaping crime and poverty that existed in urban areas. The community is comprised largely of black Muslims.
Right winged groups claim the town is a haven for extremists and terrorists, however, no evidence has shown to support the allegations.
A 2008 counter-terrorism analysis from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point concluded there is no evidence that Islamberg is a part of a network of “paramilitary training grounds.”