Noelle Velentzas

American-born Noelle Velentzas is an alleged homegrown extremist and supporter of ISIS and al-Qaeda.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. She was arrested by the FBI in her home along with her alleged accomplice, Asia Siddiqui, on April 2, 2015. The two women were charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States.“Two Queens Residents Charged with Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, April 2, 2015, https://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2015/two-queens-residents-charged-with-conspiracy-to-use-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction. Both women initially pled not guilty to the charge.Christie Smythe, “New York Women Plead Not Guilty in Jihadist Bomb-Plot Case,” Bloomberg, May 7, 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-07/new-york-women-plead-not-guilty-in-jihadist-bomb-plot-case. In 2019, Velentzas and Siddiqui both pled guilty to teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction.“Two Queens Women Plead Guilty in Connection with Plan to Build Explosive Devices Similar to Those Used in Prior Terrorist Attacks in the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 23, 2019, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-queens-women-plead-guilty-connection-plan-build-explosive-devices-similar-those-used. Velentzas was sentenced to 16 ½ years in prison on June 16, 2021.“Woman Sentenced to 198 Months in Prison for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/woman-sentenced-198-months-prison-teaching-and-distributing-information-about-weapons-mass.

Velentzas is ethnically Greek and was born in Miami, Florida.“Prosecutors: Women Charged In Alleged Terror Plot Believed ‘Armageddon’ Was Coming,” CBS News, April 3, 2015, http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/04/03/2-women-accused-of-plotting-isis-inspired-terror-attack-held-without-bail/. She lived in various homeless shelters as a teenager and converted to Islam at age 17.“Prosecutors: Women Charged In Alleged Terror Plot Believed ‘Armageddon’ Was Coming,” CBS News, April 3, 2015, http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/04/03/2-women-accused-of-plotting-isis-inspired-terror-attack-held-without-bail/.

Between August 2014 and April 2015, Velentzas and Siddiqui met with an undercover FBI agent whom the two women believed to be a fellow jihadist.Elizabeth Whitman, “How Noelle Velentzas, Asia Siddiqui Were Arrested For Allegedly Conspiring In Terror Attack: New York Women Foiled By Undercover Agent,” International Business Times, April 2, 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-were-arrested-allegedly-conspiring-terror-attack-1868472. During this time, the women allegedly educated themselves on how to build explosives, and collected potential bomb-building supplies from stores such as Home Depot.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, April 1, 2015, https://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/velentzas-complaint.pdf. The evidence for the case against the women included objects found in their apartments, allegedly including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, fertilizer, flux, machetes, daggers, and bomb recipes.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry McShane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. Authorities suspect they were planning to attack policemen and a heavily populated funeral for a police officer.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry McShane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. In October 2014, Velentzas told the undercover agent that people should refer to her, Siddiqui, and the agent as “citizens of the Islamic State.”“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, April 1, 2015, https://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/velentzas-complaint.pdf.

Velentzas reportedly kept a photo of Osama bin Laden on her phone, and was “obsessed” with 9/11 and the Boston bombing.”Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. Velentzas described bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam as her “heroes,” and asserted that bin Laden’s ideas were similar to her own, according to the criminal complaint.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, April 1, 2015, https://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/velentzas-complaint.pdf.

Velentzas’s neighbors, family, and imam seemed surprised by her and Siddiqui’s arrest.John Asbury, Alison Fox, and Zachary R. Dowdy, “Bomb suspects Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui described as devout Muslims with no hint of extreme leanings,” Newsday, April 2, 2015, http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-bomb-suspects-described-as-devoted-to-islam-family-1.10185012. Neighbor David Isaac stated, “I’ve seen the two of them together. Nothing extremist or nothing, nothing about ISIS or none of that, no propaganda. If they were doing it, they were doing it on the down low.” According to authorities, Velentzas had a violent history despite her innocent facade.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” , April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174.

On August 23, 2019, Velentzas and Siddiqui pled guilty to charges of teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction in furtherance of a planned federal crime of violence.“Two Queens Women Plead Guilty in Connection with Plan to Build Explosive Devices Similar to Those Used in Prior Terrorist Attacks in the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 23, 2019, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-queens-women-plead-guilty-connection-plan-build-explosive-devices-similar-those-used. Siddiqui was sentenced to 15 years in prison on January 9, 2020.“Queens Woman Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice, January 9, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/queens-woman-sentenced-15-years-imprisonment-teaching-and-distributing-information-about. On June 16, 2021, Velentzas was sentenced to 198 months—approximately 16 ½ years—in prison.“Woman Sentenced to 198 Months in Prison for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/woman-sentenced-198-months-prison-teaching-and-distributing-information-about-weapons-mass.

Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On October 16, 2020, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” 18-year-old Abdoulakh Anzorov decapitated history teacher Samuel Paty in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Paty had recently received death threats after showing caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in class as part of a lesson on freedom of speech.  

View Archive

CEP on Twitter