Rezwan Ferdaus, the 26-year-old Massachusetts resident arrested in an FBI sting for allegedly concocting a far-fetched plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon with model airplanes outfitted with C-4 explosives, has reached a plea deal.
Under the deal — which still has to be approved by a federal judge — Ferdaus will plead guilty to attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive and to attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
Federal prosecutors, in turn, will recommend a 17 year prison sentence and drop charges against Ferdaus for attempting to damage a national defense premise, receiving explosive materials, receiving and possessing unregistered firearms and attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization.
A public defender working for Ferdaus did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment about the plea deal. The Massachusetts resident’s legal team had argued that the plot was nothing more than a “fantasy” fueled by mental illness, but a judge ruled the government could still hold him because he was a danger to the community. Ferdaus, believed to be unemployed at the time of his arrest, was a drummer in a band and has a degree in physics from Northeastern University.
The pending plea deal marks a victory for the FBI and the Justice Department, which has successfully seen to guilty pleas in several sting cases in which defendants lacked either the capability or the means to launch an attack on their own. Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the FBI’s sting tactics and said the government had policies which prevent agents from entrapping suspects.