An American supporter of Al-Qaeda was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for plotting to bomb the Pentagon and US Capitol using remote-controlled model planes laden with explosives.
Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded guilty in July to the scheme, which turned out to be an FBI sting. His 17-year prison term, handed down by a judge in Boston, will be followed by 10 years of supervised release, a Justice Department statement said.
"His actions were self-initiated, deliberate and dangerous," said First Assistant US Attorney Jack Pirozzolo. "He intended to unleash horrific acts of violence against the people of the United States both here and abroad."
Ferdaus, 27, was arrested in September 2011 as part of an undercover operation in which FBI agents posed as members of Al-Qaeda.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the government dismissed the remaining charges against Ferdaus after his sentencing.
Authorities have described Ferdaus as an unmarried physics graduate from Boston's Northeastern University. The Al-Qaeda supporter reportedly committed himself to "violent jihad" early last year.
During the investigation, Ferdaus described to undercover agents his step-by-step plan of attack, Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said during the proceedings.
The prosecutor, meanwhile, said Ferdaus told the agents he planned to use aircraft filled with grenades and mobile phone-activated explosives to bring about the "downfall of this disgusting place," the United States.
Ferdaus was also accused of modifying mobile phones for use as switches in bombs to kill US soldiers in Iraq and of giving the devices to FBI agents "he believed were members of or recruiters for Al-Qaeda."
According to prosecutors, Ferdaus told the undercover agents in June 2011 that he had decided to expand his attack plan to include a ground assault on the Pentagon and asked them to provide him with explosives, grenades, fully automatic weapons and a silencer.
That month, he also rented a storage facility under a fake name.
In July, he told the undercover agents that he wanted them to supply him with 24 pounds (11 kilograms) of plastic explosives "to maximize the attack."
Shortly before he was taken into custody, Ferdaus requested C-4 explosives, three grenades and six fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles. He subsequently placed some of the C-4 explosives inside the remote-controlled planes.
A white Playboy bunny graced the tail end of one of three model planes filled with C-4 plastic explosives, slated to hit the Pentagon or blow the Capitol's dome "to smithereens," he was quoted as saying in court files.