Immigration continues to be among the most hotly-debated issues in American politics, with massive migration from Latin America and the Middle East being the most prominent subjects of discussion. Interestingly, these two sources of immigration have converged in a surprising national security discovery.
According to a press release issued by the US Department of Justice and seen on Twitter, a citizen of Honduras living in Florida planned to detonate a bomb in a crowded area of Miami’s Dolphin Mall. The man was caught and apprehended due to the intervention of an unnamed source and two undercover FBI agents.
The suspect, Vicente Adolfo Solano, 53, has been charged with “attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in a planned attack” at the Miami area mall. The announcement was made by officials from the Justice Department and FBI.
Solano was arrested after he obtained an explosive device, attempted to arm it, and then walked toward the mall with the intention of detonating the bomb. According to authorities, the device was inert and did not pose a threat, although Solano was unaware of that fact.
The criminal complaint filed against Solano notes that he gave the confidential source three videos, which depicted him making pro-ISIS and anti-US statements in Spanish. He is seen wearing a black shirt and black mask while standing in front of a black flag identical to the one used by the Islamist terrorist group, as reported by the Miami Herald.
“I am here because I like the way that ISIS confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition,” Solano is heard saying. “They’re strong. It’s a group that is growing in social media. I love that there is going to be a holy war….” Solano expresses disdain for American foreign policy and proclaims allegiance to the Islamic State.
“The United States is the most terrorist country of them all,” he continues. “It invades when it wants to and when it’s convenient for them. That is why I am joining the Islamic group, the holy war, in the name of Allah, of our leader Abu.”
Solano, the informant, and the two undercover FBI agents met several times at several locations, including at his apartment, a local hotel, in their vehicles, and at the Dolphin Mall itself. Solano planned to detonate the bomb with a cell phone, claiming he wanted to “set off a bomb and [had] the balls to do it.”
Acting US Attorney for Florida’s southern district, Benjamin G. Greenberg, said: “The top priority of the Department of Justice is to protect the American people from those who intend to take action aimed at terrorizing our community. The US Attorney’s office, in collaboration with the FBI, works tirelessly to advance this mission by continuing to thwart home-grown acts of terrorism in all forms.”
Greenberg’s remarks were backed by those of Miami FBI official Timothy R. Langan, who said “Protecting the United States from a terrorist attack is the FBI’s number one priority. There is no room for error.”
A Honduran citizen was stopped from detonating a WMD in Miami. Is ISIS trying to infiltrate the US?
Because criminal complaints are only accusations, Solano is considered innocent until proven guilty and will be given a regular court procedure. His pretrial detention hearing is slated for October 25 and the arraignment is scheduled for November 6.
The Dolphin Mall was the site of a scare in August when a false report of an active shooter was called in following a case of mistaken gunfire. If convicted, Solano could face a statutory life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.