KEY WEST (CBSMiami) — A federal jury convicted a Florida man who reportedly wanted to set off a bomb at a Key West beach.
Harlem Suarez, also known as “Almlak Benitez,” 23, intended to use a backpack bomb in an ISIL-inspired attack.
“Suarez wanted to kill innocent people by detonating a nail-laced explosive-filled backpack on a crowded Key West beach,” said Special Agent George Piro with FBI Miami. “He was denied his terroristic dreams by several hardworking, dedicated law enforcement organizations and professionals. This is a job well done.”
He was arrested in 2015 after accepting an inert device from an FBI employee posing as an extremist.
Evidence introduced at his trial in 2015 claimed Suarez’s Facebook postings had extremist rhetoric and promoted ISIL. He reportedly told an FBI source that he wanted to make a “timer bomb.”
Other evidence showed Suarez bought items for the device which he planned to bury at the beach and detonate using a cell phone.
Suarez is convicted of knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
Suarez is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge in Key West on April 18th.