Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, a superseding indictment was unsealed charging Syed Rubel Ahmed, Shahed Alom, Abu Chowdhury, Anzu Khan and Sultana Razia with one count of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to kidnap John Doe-1; Abu Chowdhury and Iffat Lubna with one count of conspiracy to kidnap John Doe-2. Abu Chowdhury and his wife Lubna were previously charged with kidnapping John Doe-2 in the underlying indictment. The defendants and the victims are members of the same ethnic community in Queens. Ahmed, Alom, Khan and Razia were arrested today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joseph M. Marutollo. Abu Chowdhury and Lubna were previously arrested and will be arraigned on the superseding indictment at a later date. A seventh defendant remains at large.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrests and charges.
“As alleged, the defendants carried out acts of brutal physical and sexual assault of the victims,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The defendants allegedly exploited their shared ethnic background with the victims in furtherance of the crimes. I urge anyone who believes they were victims of these defendants to contact the United States Attorney’s Office at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/report-crime.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Joint Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, for their assistance with the investigation.
“The violent physical and sexual assaults these defendants allegedly inflicted upon the victims they kidnapped were disturbing beyond measure. Violent crimes of any nature have no place in our society, and those who perpetrate such crimes will find themselves facing the full extent of our justice system--the FBI and the FBI New York Joint Violent Crimes Task Force is here to make sure of it,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.
“The men and women of the NYPD condemn these deeply disturbing allegations,” stated NYPD Commissioner Caban. “We and our law enforcement partners take extremely seriously all accusations of violence and abuse and remain dedicated to eradicating such criminal behavior from the streets of New York City.”
The March 27, 2023 Kidnapping of John Doe-1 in Jamaica, Queens
As alleged in the superseding indictment and detailed in court filings, over the course of approximately 13 hours on March 27, 2023, Ahmed, Alom, Chowdhury, Khan, Razia and a co-conspirator, abducted and assaulted a victim (“John Doe-1”) off a public street in Jamaica, Queens. John Doe-1 had been walking in the vicinity of 181st Street and Hillside Avenue when Chowdhury allegedly forced him into a Honda SUV. Inside the SUV, Chowdhury began beating John Doe-1 as the co-conspirator drove them around Queens. During the kidnapping, Chowdhury forced John Doe-1 to exit the SUV and filmed the victim standing naked in a residential neighborhood. Ahmed, Alom, Khan and Razia communicated with Abu Chowdhury via cellular telephone during the kidnapping, met Chowdhury at different points throughout the night, and took part in further beating and threats to kill John Doe-1. When John Doe-1 begged for water from the kidnappers, the defendants gave him water laced with a sedative. John Doe-1 later lost consciousness and woke up in a local hospital the day after he had been abducted.
The May 11, 2023 Kidnapping of John Doe-2 in Woodside, Queens
As alleged in the superseding indictment and detailed in court filings, over the course of approximately three days beginning on May 11, 2023, Chowdhury and Lubna abducted and assaulted John Doe-2. John Doe-2 had been waiting to meet Lubna outside a restaurant in the vicinity of 72nd Street and Broadway in Woodside, Queens, when Chowdhury forced John Doe-2 into a minivan and began beating him. During the kidnapping, Chowdhury, Lubna and a co-conspirator took John Doe-2 to a hotel, where Chowdhury sodomized John Doe-2. Chowdhury also made a ransom call to John Doe-2’s father, demanding $20,000 for the victim’s safety. The neighborhood where the abduction occurred is an ethnic community which the defendants exploited in warning the victim that they could easily find him if he cooperated with law enforcement. On the third day of the kidnapping, Chowdhury tied up and blindfolded John Doe-2, leaving him at an abandoned house. John Doe-2 was able to free himself by chewing through his restraints, breaking open a window and asking residents in the neighborhood to call 911.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of all counts, the defendants face a maximum of life imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Stephanie Pak and Vincent Chiappini are in charge of the prosecution with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Katrina Batista.
Defendants Previously Charged:
SYED RUBEL AHMED
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-278 (S-1) (NRM)