A United States citizen, Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad Hussain, 22 of Baltimore, Maryland, plead guilty Thursday to attempted use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction against an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland. Martinez aka Hussain, was arrested on December 8, 2010, after he attempted to detonate explosives at the station.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the guilty plea and thereafter, Rosenstein made the following statement:
“We are catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Rosenstein. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”
Special Agent in Charge McFeely stated that the threat from homegrown violent extremists remains high. McFeely further stated that the FBI and its police partners rely on a two way flow of information with the Muslim community at large. Together, he added, they are working to stop those that have perverted the Islamic faith into something it is not.
According to Martinez’ plea agreement, on Oct. 22, 2010, he raised the subject of attacking military targets with a confidential source of the FBI. During recorded conversations between Martinez, the confidential source and an FBI undercover agent, Martinez spoke about his anger toward America, his belief that Muslims were being unjustly targeted and killed by the American military and his desire to commit jihad to send a message that American soldiers would be killed unless the country stopped its “war” against Islam by targeting an armed forces recruiting center in Catonsville.
Martinez attempted recruiting numerous people for his operation, all declined, with one who went as far as attempting to change Martinez’ mind about committing jihad. According to a statement of facts, both before and during the investigation, Martinez was outspoken about his militant beliefs by posting said beliefs on his public Facebook page and in two Facebook chats with the confidential source of the FBI. Martinez actually attempted to detonate an explosive device at the armed forces recruiting station, and he admitted that the bomb was intended to kill military service members who worked in the building. Set forth in the court documents, however, agents investigating Martinez ensured that the bomb was inert and no danger was presented to the public.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for April 6, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. although if the court accepts the plea, Martinez should be sentenced to 25 years in prison. At present, the government and Martinez have agreed to the sentencing and disposition of the case.
For more information, please see the National Press Release of the Federal Bureau of Investigation entitled: Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction in Plot to Attack Armed Forces Recruiting Center
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