A teenager in New York City has been arrested for allegedly telling undercover agents of his intentions to conduct a violent terrorist attack in the name of terror group ISIS, according to senior law enforcement officials in the city.
The 19-year-old from Queens allegedly sent messages to an undercover agent talking about how he wanted to perform a knife attack in the borough, according to sources close to the investigation. He began trading messages with the undercover agent after joining an online chatroom and claiming that he wanted to perform the attack under the name of ISIS.
The teenager has been identified as 19-year-old Awais Chudhary of East Elmhurst. Chudhary allegedly ordered a knife through law enforcement. He was picked up and arrested as he went to the SkyView shopping center in Flushing to collect the weapon. NYPD police officers and agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, and other federal agencies across the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) were involved with the arrest.
FBI agents and NYPD officers were seen entering and leaving Chudhary’s house in Queens on Thursday evening. One of Chudhary’s neighbors spoke to News 4, saying that Chudhary, and indeed his entire family, liked to keep themselves to themselves. The neighbor said that Chudhary went out so little she had only seen him twice across the past two years.
Chudhary is expected to appear in front of a judge on Friday, where it’s believed he’ll be facing terror-related charges. An announcement of the formal charges set against him is expected on Friday morning.
Agents with the FBI and the broader JTTF had been tracking Chudhary since he first started plotting the attack and became a threat to public safety. The whole timeline of the case – which began when Chudhary allegedly announced his intentions on the chat room and ended with his arrest – spanned just five days.
The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York issued a statement about the arrest. They confirmed that Chudhary had been arrested and reassured that there was no kind of “public safety issues as a result of the arrest.”