Homegrown extremist pleads guilty to attack plot on armed forces recruiting center

Thu, 2012-01-26 04:06 PM
By: Mark Rockwell

A Baltimore man pleaded guilty to charges of trying to bomb a military recruiting center in a failed plot aimed at killing U.S. service members in late 2010.

Antonio Martinez, who also goes by the name Muhammad Hussain, 22, pleaded guilty on Jan. 26 to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property in a scheme to attack an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, MD. Martinez was arrested on Dec. 8, 2010, after he tried to detonate what he thought were explosives at the recruiting facility during an FBI sting operation.

According to his plea agreement, on Oct. 22, 2010, Martinez raised the subject of attacking military targets with an FBI informant. In recorded conversations between Martinez, the informant and later with an FBI undercover agent, Martinez identified his target—the recruiting station in Catonsville. In those conversations, said the agreement, He voiced his anger at America, his beliefs 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.

Martinez tried to recruit a number of people to join in the operation, including a person that said they had the ability to obtain weapons, according to the agreement. All declined, and one of them expressly attempted to dissuade Martinez from committing jihad. Martinez agreed to meet the source’s “Afghani brother,” who was actually an undercover FBI agent whom the informant said would be interested in help with the operation.

According to court documents, before and during the investigation, Martinez expressed his militant beliefs in postings on his public Facebook page and in two Facebook chats with the informant.

According to the plea agreement, Martinez first met the informant in November, 2010, and advised him that he wanted jihadist activities to be his “profession.” Throughout the investigation, Martinez, according to the agreement, repeatedly expressed his desire to go forward with the attack. He admitted that on Dec. 8, 2010, he met the informant to drive to a public parking lot near the recruiting center. On the way, Martinez had the informant tape him on a camcorder and a recorded a statement saying that he would continue to fight against the oppressors until those who waged war with Islam stopped their actions. He subsequently attempted to detonate an explosive device at the recruiting station.

Martinez , said the agreement, admitted the bomb was intended to kill military service members who worked in the building.

If the court accepts the plea, said an FBI statement on Jan. 26, Martinez will be sentenced to 25 years in prison. Sentencing is slated for April 6.

“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 for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”

“This is an example of another successful prosecution that resulted from outstanding partnerships between the Muslim community and law enforcement,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely. “As the threat from homegrown violent extremists remains high, the FBI and our police partners rely on a two way flow of information with the Muslim community at large. Together we are working to stop those that have perverted the Islamic faith into something it is not.”

Homegrown extremist pleads guilty to attack plot on armed forces recruiting center | Government Security News