NEW YORK – Two men were convicted Monday of plotting to blow up jet fuel tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a plan that authorities said was meant to outdo the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and avenge perceived U.S. oppression of Muslims around the world.

Russell De-freitas, a former JFK cargo handler, and Abdul Kadir, once a member of Guyana’s parliament, were convicted of multiple conspiracy charges. Kadir was acquitted of one charge, surveillance of mass transportation. The Brooklyn federal court jury deliberated about five days.

Defreitas, a 66-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, and Kadir, 58, were arrested in 2007 after an informant infiltrated the plot and recorded them discussing it.

Prosecutors alleged that Defreitas and Kadir wanted to kill thousands of people and cripple the American economy by using explosives to blow up the fuel tanks and the underground pipelines that run through an adjacent neighborhood in Queens. Authorities say the men sought the help of militant Muslims, including an al-Qaida operative, in Guyana.

The defendants wanted to set off an explosion “so massive that it could be seen from far, far away,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Zainab Ahmad said in closing arguments.

Their vision prompted them to code name the plot “The Shining Light,” the prosecutor said.

During the trial, their lawyers described the two men as clueless trash-talkers who were led astray by the informant, a convicted drug dealer.

Kadir maintained his innocence. “Obviously, he’s totally disappointed,” said his attorney, Kafahni Nkrumah.

“There’s more than just the evidence Mr. Kadir was coming up against,” Nkrumah said. “There’s the atmosphere of fear in the country … of Muslims, Islam and fear of terrorists, especially in New York City.”