A Pakistani-American citizen was arrested seconds before her was set to fly back to his homeland. Faisal Shehzad, 30, was arrested on Monday at New York’s J. F. Kennedy International Airport at exactly 11:45 p.m., Attorney General Eric Holder said.
Shehzad is to appear before the federal court after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said.
Shahzad was on board Emirates Airlines Flight 202 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the jet way had been pulled back when the plane was called to return to the gate, a law enforcement source said. Shahzad was booked through to Islamabad, Pakistan, via Dubai, a senior airline official confirmed. He was caught at the last second.
Along with Shehzad, two other passengers were detained. The remaining passengers and crew were thoroughly checked before the flight took off for Dubai.
A federal law enforcement source said later Tuesday that the two passengers detained had been cleared and released.
The source said the two “had nothing to do with this” but had been taken off the plane in an abundance of caution “in the rush of the moment.”
The law enforcement sources also said that cell phone calls made for the purchase of the vehicle used in the Times Square bombing attempt helped lead police to the suspect.
Sources said investigators got cell phone information from the daughter of the Nissan Pathfinder owner. She sold the vehicle to Shahzad on behalf of her father.
She talked on the phone to Shahzad in organizing the purchase of the sport utility vehicle, which was advertised for sale on Craigslist.
Shehzad is reported to have a wife in Pakistan and two children. His neighbors said he was seen leaving his home in the morning and returning in the evening, and that she never suspected he might be involved in a possible terror attack.