On Friday, February 26, 1993, a massive explosion occurred in the public parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. As a result of the explosion, 6 persons were killed, and more than 1,000 injured. The site of the blast became one of the largest crime scenes in NYPD history. Estimates showed property damage in excess of onehalf billion dollars. The sense of fear and panic in the city was palpable. Indeed, many in law enforcement thought of this investigation as the "case of the century."
The JTTF stepped into the maelstrom and helped restore calm to the city. Within a month of the blast, the JTTF apprehended four individuals responsible for the attack. The suspects went on trial on September 13, 1993. The trial lasted 6 months with the presentation of 204 witnesses and more than 1,000 pieces of evidence. A jury convicted the four defendants on March 4, 1994, in federal court on all 38 counts against them. On May 25, 1994, a judge sentenced each of the four defendants to 240 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. On February 7, 1995, authorities in Pakistan arrested the prime fugitive wanted in connection with the bombing and subsequently rendered him to U.S. authorities. This suspect, the mastermind behind the bombing, was sentenced to 240 years in prison on January 8, 1998.
The quick action taken by the JTTF did much to allay fears and return a sense of normalcy to New York City. The World Trade Center bombing will be remembered as the gravest attack of international terrorism to occur directly on American soil. As part of the plot to strike at the United States, these international terrorists intended to disrupt the dynamics of daily life, commerce, and finance in one of the most heavily populated cities in the United States. The suspect and his associates had hoped to kill upwards of 35,000 innocent people. The excellent work accomplished by the JTTF in investigating and successfully resolving the case dispelled the sense of vulnerability the terrorists had hoped to instill.