On May 1, street vendors spotted the smoking vehicle almost immediately and notified the New York Police Department, which cleared the area. After firefighters doused the flames, the search began for whoever had left the vehicle. It was quickly traced to Shahzad.
“In this case, the speed with which they broke the case because of the terrorist overtones was breathtaking,” says Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani and now co-chair of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s Litigation & Crisis Management Group in New York. “They actually identified him faster than his arrest because they wanted to track him to figure out if he had any accomplices.”
The information garnered from Shahzad has resulted in arrests in Pakistan and the US.
According to the Department of Justice, in December 2009, Shahzad received explosives training in Pakistan. Then, in February, he received $5,000 in cash in Massachusetts, sent from a co-conspirator in Pakistan. Six weeks later, he received an additional $7,000 in cash. Some of that money went to buying a used Pathfinder.
Also according to the Justice Department, Shahzad in March bought a semiautomatic 9 mm Kel-Tec rifle, which was later found loaded and in his car at John F. Kennedy International Airport on the day of his arrest. One of the counts against him includes possession of a firearm during or in relation to a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
After his arrest, Shahzad waived his Miranda rights – the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Instead, he spent weeks talking to federal investigators before getting a lawyer.