A Manhattan federal court judge sentenced Jose Pimentel, the pot-smoking, hapless, "lone-wolf," would-be terrorist that the FBI refused to touch, to 16 years in prison yesterday.
Pimentel received a shorter sentence thanks to a plea agreement he made in February.
In November of 2011, the Dominican-born Muslim convert, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was found in his Harlem apartment with all of the ingredients necessary to make a Fight Club-style pipe bomb, authorities said. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, one of the few times an individual had been charged under the post-9/11 statute.
Authorities also said Pimentel/Yusuf was an ardent follower of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who became a radical Al Qaeda cleric. The U.S. attorneys office and the NYPD said it was Awlaki's death by the hands of U.S. forces that initiated the construction (and near-completion) of the pipe bomb by Pimentel.
At the time, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters Pimentel often spoke about changing his name to "Osama Hussein" after his "two heroes." In addition, he maintained a personal website, where he listed bomb-making recipes and attacked the U.S. government for its actions abroad. Not exactly the covert, shrewd actions of a criminal mastermind.
Throughout the NYPD's two-year investigation, Pimentel frequently told an informant that he planned to attack certain targets in New York with his bombs. But it was reported that Pimentel and the informant smoked pot together, and even went to Home Depot to buy the bomb's ingredients. One federal source told Murray Weiss at DNA Info that this taint of entrapment was the reason the FBI dropped their case, leaving it for the NYPD.
Nonetheless, the charges were maintained and, as his alleged plans were outlined for a jury this past February, Pimentel was caught grinning (see above). The Daily News reports that yesterday he was more stoic. "The lone wolf" quickly said "no" when offered the chance to speak by the judge before being hauled off yesterday to begin serving his 16 year sentence.