Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction in Plot to Attack Armed Forces Recruiting Center
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 26, 2012|
BALTIMORE—Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, 22, of Baltimore, a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty today to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property in connection with a scheme to attack an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Md. Martinez was arrested on Dec. 8, 2010, after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be explosives at the armed forces recruiting station.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the FBI.
“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.”
“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 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.”
According to his plea agreement, on Oct. 22, 2010, Martinez raised the subject of attacking military targets with an FBI confidential source (CS). During the recorded conversations that followed between Martinez, the CS and later, an FBI undercover agent, Martinez identified his target—an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville—and 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.
Martinez attempted to recruit a number of people to join in the operation, including an individual whom he said had the ability to obtain weapons. All of them declined, and one of them expressly attempted to dissuade Martinez from committing jihad. Thereafter, Martinez agreed to meet the source’s “Afghani brother,” an undercover FBI agent (UC), whom the CS represented would be interested in assisting in the operation.
According to the statement of facts, both prior to, and during the course of the investigation, Martinez articulated his militant beliefs in postings on his public Facebook page and in two Facebook chats with the CS.
According to the plea agreement, Martinez first met the UC on Nov. 16, 2010, and advised the UC that he wanted jihadist activities to be his “profession.” Throughout the course of the investigation, Martinez repeatedly expressed his desire to go forward with the attack. Martinez admitted that on Dec. 8, 2010, he met the CS to drive to a public parking lot near the recruiting center. On the way, Martinez had the CS tape him on a camcorder and a statement that he would continue to fight against the oppressors until those who waged war with Islam stopped their actions. Martinez subsequently attempted to detonate an explosive device at the armed forces recruiting station. Martinez admitted that the bomb was intended to kill military service members who worked in the building. As set forth in court documents, agents investigating Martinez ensured that the bomb was inert and no danger was presented to the public.
If the court accepts the plea, Martinez will be sentenced to 25 years in prison, which the government and the defendant have agreed is the appropriate disposition of the case. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for April 6, 2012, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Rosenstein praised the FBI and the members of its multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force for their work in this investigation. U.S. Attorney Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge McFeely expressed their appreciation to the Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, Maryland State Police, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Recruitment Command, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Army 902d Military Intelligence Group, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance in the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Manuelian, who is prosecuting the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Harvey E. Eisenberg, Chief of the National Security Section, who is supervising the case. U.S. Attorney Rosenstein also thanked the Justice Department’s National Security Division for its support.