Dec. 20, 2021 By Christian Murray
A Jackson Heights man who bought firearms with the intention of carrying out a mass shooting in Times Square pleaded guilty in federal court last week to gun-related charges.
Ashiqul Alam, 25, who is a citizen of Bangladesh, admitted Friday that he had purchased a firearm with an obliterated serial number as part of a plea agreement. As part of the agreement, he is likely to be sentenced to 5-years in prison and be deported upon completion of his sentence.
“With today’s guilty plea, Alam has admitted to purchasing a firearm for use in a full-scale, mass-casualty attack in Times Square,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “Protecting our national security and the residents of this city, state and nation from the threat of terrorist attacks at home or abroad continues to be one of the highest priorities of this Office and its law enforcement partners.”
According to court records, Alam expressed a desire between August 2018 and June 2019 to purchase firearms for use in a mass-casualty attack. He identified two locations—Times Square and Washington D.C.
Alam, according to court documents, conducted several reconnaissance trips to Times Square in January 2019 and used his cell phone to make video recordings of the area as he searched for potential targets.
He also conducted research online about firearms and discussed purchasing a gun with an undercover cop. In March 2019 he told the cop that he was interested in buying a Glock 9 mm pistol.
In May 2019, the undercover cop told him that the firearm for sale had an obliterated serial number in which Alam replied “Oh, that’s good man.”
In June, Alam met the undercover cop and provided him with $400 toward the purchase of two Glock 19 semiautomatic pistols with obliterated serial numbers. He asked whether the Glock 19 was compatible with a silencer. He was arrested soon after.
Alam was not charged with terrorism-related crimes. Officials said, despite his intentions, he posed no immediate threat, since law enforcement was monitoring his plans.