A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on six crimes in the US Eastern District of Michigan for his apparent attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said Abdulmutallab faces life in prison on the charges.
"The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life," Holder said in a statement Wednesday. "This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool–military or judicial–available to our government."
The 7-page indictment read: "On December 25, 2009, Defendant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Flight 253 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, carrying a concealed bomb (hereinafter, "the Bomb"). The Bomb consisted of a device containing Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (also known and hereinafter referred to as "PETN), Triacetone Triperoxide (also known and hereinafter referred to as "TATP"), and other ingredients.
"The Bomb was concealed inside Defendant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s clothing. The Bomb was designed to allow Defendant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to detonate it at a time of his choosing, and thereby to cause an explosion aboard Flight 253," the document said.
As PETN and TATP are both explosives, the bomb was classified as a weapon of mass destruction as well as a firearm. Abdulmutallab, 23, was indicted for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of 289 individuals onboard Flight 253, a willful attempt to destroy an aircraft, willfully placing a destructive device into an aircraft in an act likely to endanger the aircraft, possession of a firearm in support of a crime of violence, and possession of a destructive device in support of a crime of violence.
The crime of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, while the charges of murder and attempt to destroy the aircraft carry up to 20 years in prison each. The weapons charges carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison each.
The charge of attempted murder of 289 people include the other 278 passengers and 11 crewmembers onboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which originated in Abdulmutallab’s home country of Nigeria.
Abdulmutallab’s attempt to trigger the device under his clothing started a fire onboard the flight, the indictment added.
The Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the Christmas Day plot. The task force, led by the FBI, consists of officers from US Customs and Border Protection, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and other law enforcement agencies. The Transportation Security Administration, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department, the Wayne County Airport police [of Michigan], and international law enforcement organizations are providing additional assistance.