Defreitas had been an employee of Evergreen Service Co. at JFK, Kelly said. Company officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The neighborhood where Defreitas was last known to live is a community of red brick row houses in East New York, populated largely by African Americans, Latinos and West Indian immigrants.
Two residents said a man fitting Defreitas' description often hung out at the herbal store, sometimes playing drums. In the last week, that man and several others, all wearing long gowns, performed some kind of ritual with incense outside the store, they said.
Jasmine Jeter, 26, said the man seemed to fit in with the local Guyanese population. "He seemed really quiet and kept to himself," said Jeter, who lives a block away and said she was shaken to hear of the arrest.
Miller reported from Washington and Hayasaki from New York. Times staff writers Josh Meyer in Washington and Matea Gold in New York contributed to this report.
Recently alleged plots
May 8, 2007: Six suspected Islamic radicals are accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Army base at Ft. Dix, N.J., with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. They are not believed to have links to any foreign organizations.
July 7, 2006: U.S. authorities, working with six foreign intelligence agencies, say they've cracked a planned suicide attack on the rail system linking Manhattan and New Jersey under the Hudson River.
June 23, 2006: Seven men are charged with conspiring to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and the FBI building in Miami. They are accused of pledging loyalty to Al Qaeda.
Former mayor a suspect
One of the suspects, Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen native to Guyana and former JFK air cargo employee, said the airport named for the slain president was targeted because it is a symbol that would...
Fourth man in alleged plot to bomb JFK fuel pipeline surrenders to police in Trinidad
Three will remain in jail until hearing on U.S. request for extradition