Jose Pimentel appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court after his arrest November 2011. Credit: Jefferson Siegel-Pool/Getty Images
A man accused of plotting to set off pipe bombs in New York City pleaded guilty Wednesday to a state terrorism charge, officials said.
Jose Pimentel, 29, built improvised explosive devices two years ago that he planned to detonate in the city, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
Pimentel was arrested in his Hamilton Heights apartment November 2011 after a yearlong investigation by the NYPD Bomb Squad. Officials said he had components described in an Al Qaeda magazine outlining how to construct a bomb for maximum casualties.
"That is what I really want to get into because it's so cheap and it could do a lot of damage… and then that's something worth going to jail for, you know. Like, if you get caught because you blew up half of a side of a police station," Pimentel said September 2011, according to court documents of recorded phone conversations.
Officials said Pimentel intended to target United States military personnel and civilians.
Pimentel agreed to a 16-year plea deal for attempted criminal possession in a terrorism crime, the same law used against two other New Yorkers since the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We must and will remain vigilant and do everything we can to prevent future terror attacks, within the strictures of our system of laws," Vance said in a statement.
Officials said that Pimentel also maintained an anti-United States website with bomb-making recipes.
"This was a lone wolf who formulated a significant part of his terror plot through the use of the Internet," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement. "Fortunately this threat was thwarted through the coordinated intelligence and investigation."