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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York
Damian Williams, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Two Bronx Men Sentenced to Prison for Throwing Molotov Cocktails at Neighbors’ Cars and Houses

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that NAYEEM AHMED CHOWDHURY and DAVID MENDEZ were sentenced by U.S. District Judge John P. Cronan to six years and 27 months in prison, respectively, in connection with using glass bottles with ignitable liquid and lit wicks, commonly known as “Molotov cocktails,” in an attempt to set a car and an apartment building on fire in the Bronx, New York. CHOWDHURY previously pled guilty to possession of unregistered Molotov cocktails and was sentenced on June 15, 2023. MENDEZ previously pled guilty to conspiracy to possess unregistered Molotov cocktails and was sentenced today.

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and court filings:

Just after 2:00 a.m. on June 8, 2022, after circling the block for at least an hour, CHOWDHURY and MENDEZ approached a vehicle that was parked in the front yard of an apartment building in the defendants’ neighborhood in the Bronx, New York. CHOWDHURY lit a Molotov cocktail and placed it underneath the vehicle as MENDEZ looked on. The defendants drove off to let the fire burn. Approximately 30 minutes later, CHOWDHURY and MENDEZ returned to the vehicle. MENDEZ lit a second Molotov cocktail and placed it under the vehicle as CHOWDHURY looked on. Approximately 30 minutes after the defendants drove away from the vehicle the second time, the owner of the vehicle observed the fire and, together with other individuals from the neighborhood, threw buckets of water on and around the vehicle to put out the flames. Photographs of the June 2022 incident are below, with the defendants circled in green and the victims’ buckets of water circled in red:

The two defendants during the incident of June 2022.
The two defendants during the incident of June 2022.

People, cars, and buckets of water.
People, cars, and buckets of water.

Around 7:00 a.m. on July 24, 2022, CHOWDHURY approached another residence in his neighborhood, lit a third Molotov cocktail, and hurled it at the residence. The Molotov cocktail hit a window and fell onto the front porch, where it burst into flames. The family that was sleeping inside the residence, including a husband, his pregnant wife, and their toddler, woke up from the loud crash against the window and immediately poured buckets of water onto the Molotov cocktail to put out the flames. Photographs of CHOWDHURY throwing the third Molotov cocktail at the residence in July 2022 are below:

A person holding a Molotov cocktail.

A person looking up at a Molotov cocktail that was thrown onto the porch of a house.

In addition to their prison terms, CHOWDHURY, 36, and MENDEZ, 40, both of the Bronx, New York, were sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda C. Weingarten is in charge of the prosecution.

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