At a Glance | January 16

Suspect Motivated by ISIS Pleads Not Guilty in NYC Subway Bombing

A Bangladeshi immigrant whose homemade bomb left him burned when it exploded in the New York City subway pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges on January 11. Authorities believe Akayed Ullah, 27, began to self-radicalize three years ago. He lived in New York with a green card after coming to the United States in 2011. The bomb detonated December 11 in a corridor linking the subway to the Port Authority bus terminal. No one else was seriously hurt. Ullah built it from a pipe, a 9-volt battery and Christmas lights, and packed it with metal screws, from instructions on the Internet, authorities said. Charges include using a weapon of mass destruction, providing material support to ISIS and bombing a place of public use. He faces up to life in prison. Prosecutors said that while hospitalized, Ullah told the FBI, “I did it for the Islamic State.”


Pennsylvania Man Accused of Illegally Purchasing Firearms to Support Terrorist Groups

pic 1.png

A Pennsylvania man used false information to purchase firearms with the intent of supporting domestic and international terrorist groups, according to a court papers filed December 27 by prosecutors in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Noah Felt Dratfield (photo, right), also known as Nua Abdullah Alarcon, was charged in November with lying on state and federal forms while buying guns. He remains jailed on $500,000 bail. Dratfield, 32, of Bristol Township, supplied an old address, gave his country of birth as Brazil instead of Paraguay, and lied about prior convictions related to assault and drug offenses in New Jersey and Virginia, the complaint said. A raid of Dratfield’s residence in November by Pennsylvania’s Gun Violence Task Force and the FBI uncovered two guns and 10 empty rifle boxes. Police said Dratfield made at least six firearm purchases in 2017 at various gun shops and a gun show. Dratfield converted to Islam about 10 years ago, according to his attorney.


Roommate’s Tip in Florida Double Slaying Brings 5-Year Term for Neo-Nazi With Explosives

A federal judge on January 9 gave a 5-year prison term to the founder of a neo-Nazi group whose cache of bomb ingredients was discovered when police investigated the killings of two of his roommates. Prosecutors sought 11 years for Brandon Russell, who kept a framed picture of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on his dresser. Russell, 22, helped found the “Atomwaffen Division,” which has focused on college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Russell had attended the University of South Florida. When police were called to the Tampa apartment in May, they found Russell outside, crying. Inside, they found the bodies of Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman. Another roommate, Devon Arthurs, was soon arrested and charged with the killings. Authorities said Arthurs, who had co-founded the neo-Nazi group with Russell, told detectives he killed his roommates because they teased him about his conversion to Islam, and to prevent a terrorist attack by Atomwaffen. Arthurs said Russell had materials in the house “to kill civilians and target locations like power lines, nuclear reactors, and synagogues,” prosecutors said. Police found hexamethylene triperoxide diamine and other materials, including “multiple pounds” of ammonium nitrate, nitromethane, empty shell casings, fuses and electric matches. Russell pleaded guilty in September to possessing an unregistered destructive device and improper storage of explosive materials.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.