Two Queens women arrested Thursday on terrorism charges had led ordinary lives until they were nabbed by the FBI, a law enforcement source said Friday.
Although neither has a criminal record, federal prosecutors successfully argued in court Thursday that Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, should be denied bail because they were a danger to the public. A Brooklyn federal magistrate ordered the pair held until a court hearing on May 4.
Velentzas, of Greek ancestry, was born in Miami in 1987 and Siddiqui was born in Saudi Arabia in 1984, the source said. Both women are U.S. citizens.StoryImam: Bomb suspects appeared upstandingDocumentsRead the chargesEditorialEditorial: NYC's alleged ISIS plot a sobering reminder
In a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, Velentzas and Siddiqui were accused of continually expressing support for violent jihad. Both women declared that they were "citizens of the Islamic State," the name of the terror organization known as ISIS, prosecutors said in court papers. It was their alleged expression of support for ISIS, an organization that has called for lone-wolf terror attacks against the West, that prosecutors said was evidence of the danger posed by Velentzas and Siddiqui.
Velentzas is a home health aide. Siddiqui, who appears to be unemployed, had traveled several times to and from Canada, where her mother and other family members reside, the source said.
Prosecutors have charged that Velentzas and Siddiqui researched how to construct bombs as part of a conspiracy to make weapons of mass destruction to use against Americans. The two women had in their possession some propane tanks and instructions for turning them into bombs, investigators said. But, based on the criminal complaint and statements by law enforcement officials, it appeared that the conspiracy did not endanger the public.