4 arrested in plot to attack New York Muslim community

Jan. 23 (UPI) — Three men and a 16-year-old boy face weapons and conspiracy charges for plotting to attack a small Muslim community in New York state, authorities said.

The suspects had more than 20 firearms and three explosive devices they planned to use against the enclave in Islamberg, Greece, N.Y., Police Chief Patrick Phelan said.

Islamberg was settled by Pakistani immigrants in the 1980s and is home to an estimated 200 people.

“If they had carried out this plot — and there’s every indication that they were going to — people would have died. I don’t know how many and who, but people would have died,” Phelan said.

Police arrested Brian Colaneri, 20; Vincent Vetromile, 19; and Andrew Crysel, 18. The 16-year-old boy’s name was not released because he’s a minor. The suspects were arrested last week in Greece, a suburb outside Rochester, about three and-a-half hours from Islamberg.

Police said the plot unraveled when the boy talked to friends about the plan.

“Our investigation took us to this plot that we had no idea about,” Phelan said. “The kid who initially said something to an adult saved people’s lives.”

Authorities said the explosives, in the shape of mason jars and wrapped in duct tape, were found in the teen’s home. They are being examined by the FBI. There were also 23 legally-owned shotguns and rifles.

Police said three of the suspects were Boy Scouts together, before the organization banned them from participating in any future activities.

The FBI and New York State Police are going through the suspects’ phones and computers and authorities said there could be more arrests.

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