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Queens Jihadist Held Without Bail After Weapons Arsenal Found Near La Guardia Airport

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Edited by: Fern Sidman

In a dramatic and concerning turn of events, Judd Sanson, a 29-year-old man from Queens, was apprehended just blocks from La Guardia International Airport with a veritable arsenal of weapons in his SUV, according to a report on Thursday in The New York Post. The incident, which unfolded early Wednesday morning, has sparked significant alarm and highlights the persistent threat of domestic terrorism. As new details emerge, the gravity of Sanson’s intentions and the potential catastrophe averted become starkly clear.

The initial encounter that led to Sanson’s arrest was seemingly routine. Police officers, noted for their vigilance, stopped Sanson due to obscured license plates on his black Ford Explorer, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.  However, The Post report indicated that the situation quickly escalated when Sanson nervously reached under his seat during the first few moments of the stop. This suspicious behavior prompted officers to investigate further, leading to the discovery of a loaded 9mm Glock pistol under the driver’s seat.

Sanson’s justification for his presence near the airport was flimsy. He claimed, “Sorry, there is a lot of drunk people nowadays,” and added that he was visiting his uncle in Jamaica while residing in Hollis, Queens, the report in The Post indicated.

Sanson was taken to the 110th Precinct stationhouse for questioning before being led out in handcuffs for his court appearance on Thursday. Throughout the ordeal, Sanson maintained a nonchalant demeanor, even smiling and grinning widely when reporters asked if he had purchased his weapons arsenal on Amazon.

Queens Assistant District Attorney Dylan Nesturrick detailed the alarming inventory discovered in Sanson’s vehicle. Along with the loaded Glock, officers found nearly a dozen weapons, including a makeshift axe hanging from the ceiling, a makeshift sword, and a knife strapped to Sanson’s leg, as was described in The Post report.  Additionally, an NYPD bullet-proof vest and 179 rounds of ammunition were discovered. The presence of an MTA reflective vest further added to the bizarre and threatening collection of items.

These findings suggest meticulous preparation and an intent to cause significant harm. Noted in The Post report was that the makeshift nature of some weapons indicated a level of improvisation, possibly pointing to Sanson’s resourcefulness and determination to arm himself by any means necessary.

The investigation extended to Sanson’s father’s apartment on Jamaica Avenue, where police executed a search warrant. Prosecutors revealed that a Glock holding case was found during the search, adding to the mounting evidence against Sanson.

Sanson’s arrest has raised numerous questions about his motives and potential affiliations. While prosecutors have not detailed the “disturbing photo” found on his Facebook page, its mention suggests that Sanson’s social media presence could provide critical insights into his ideological leanings and possible radicalization, The Post report explained.

Sanson’s attire during his court appearance—a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Dreamer: Into reality” and a rose—adds an enigmatic layer to his personality. The report added that it hints at a possible delusional or aspirational aspect to his actions, aligning with the profiles of individuals driven by extremist beliefs.

Despite having addresses in Tennessee and Maryland, Sanson primarily resides with his father in Hollis, Queens, and is a father himself to a 1-year-old daughter.

Sanson was ordered held without bail by Judge Julieta Lozano, a decision reflecting the perceived severity of the threat he posed. The Post report affirmed that Assistant District Attorney Nesturrick emphasized that the car stop likely prevented a major disaster, not just for Queens but potentially for the entire country. The arsenal found in Sanson’s SUV, combined with his proximity to La Guardia Airport, suggests that his actions could have led to a high-casualty event.

During the arraignment, Sanson’s lawyer, Thomas Montella of Queens Defenders, portrayed his client as a hardworking individual supporting his young daughter. Montella argued for reasonable bail, stating, “This is, at the end of the day, a gun case.”  The Post reported that Sanson’s background as a self-employed mechanic with no known history of violent behavior complicates the case. His attorney’s portrayal of him as a dedicated father contrasts sharply with the image painted by the prosecution of a man prepared for violent action.

Indicated in The Post report was that despite his plea, Judge Julieta Lozano sided with the prosecution, agreeing that the severity of the situation warranted keeping Sanson at Rikers Island without bail pending his next court appearance on Monday.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz called attention to the seriousness of the case, highlighting the proximity of Sanson’s arrest to La Guardia Airport. “It is concerning that he was a few blocks away from the airport,” Katz remarked, as was reported by The Post. “You got to ask about the intent.”


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