Authorities in Maryland Arrest Man in Alleged Bomb Plot to Blow Up Military Recruitment Center
Baltimore, Maryland - Authorities in Maryland arrested a Baltimore man Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to bomb a military recruiting station, the U.S. attorney's office said.
The man -- described as a 21-year-old convert to Islam -- is upset that the military continues to kill Muslims, a law enforcement source said. His name and residence were not immediately made available.
Marcia Murphy with the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore said the suspect was arrested in the morning hours "in connection with a scheme to attack an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland, with what he believed to be a vehicle bomb."
He is to make an initial appearance in a U.S. District Court in Baltimore at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The arrest comes after a high-profile string of unsuccessful terror attempts, such as last year's alleged Christmas Day bombing attempt, the botched Times Square car bombing, and the alleged Portland, Oregon, plan to attack a Christmas tree-lighting.
The suspect had been monitored for months by law enforcement agents, and Murphy said there was "no actual danger to the public" because the explosives were "inert."
She emphasized that there is "no evidence" tying the suspect to recent shootings at military recruiting centers in the metropolitan Washington area.
The case bears similarities to the Oregon one because of the sting techniques used, the source said.
On November 26, Oregon State University student Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van parked near a tree-lighting ceremony at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, authorities have said.
The bomb was fake, thanks to an undercover operation designed to undermine the plotter, and officials said the public was never in danger.
The Justice Department said Mohamud's arrest came after a long-term undercover operation during which the teen was monitored closely.
Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, pleaded not guilty November 29 to a single count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction shortly after being indicted on that charge by a federal grand jury. He could face life in prison if convicted. A trial date has been set for February 1.
Mohamud's lawyer, Stephen Sady, has said government agents entrapped his client, "grooming" him as a potential bomber and providing him with money and transportation to support the plot.
"Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale," Arthur Balizan, the FBI's special agent in charge in Oregon, has said.
In October, Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, was sentenced to life in prison for a botched attempt to bomb New York's Times Square.
He was accused of attempting to set off a vehicle bomb in Times Square on May 1. The bomb failed to detonate, and Shahzad, a naturalized citizen, was arrested two days later while attempting to leave the country on a flight bound for Pakistan from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Prosecutors said he carefully selected his location as a highly populated target and intended to strike again if he wasn't caught the first time. He pleaded guilty in June to all 10 counts in the indictment against him.
On December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the British-educated son of a Nigerian bank executive, allegedly attempted to set off a bomb sewn into his underwear on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, as it approached Detroit, Michigan.
AbdulMutallab has pleaded not guilty to six federal terrorism charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and willful attempt to destroy an aircraft. He has rejected his federal public defenders, opting to act as his own attorney.