MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A Honduran national will not get bail while awaiting trial on charges of plotting to commit a terrorist bombing at a huge South Florida mall.
Vicente Adolfo Solano was ordered held without bond. U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAlily ruled after a half hour hearing that Solano poses a risk of flight and danger to the community.
The judge said she could not set a bond that would assure Solano would appear as required.
“I think it is likely you would be found guilty, and would be facing a severe term of incarceration and would have reason to flee,” if given bond, the judge said.
“There is compelling evidence that you had the intention to kill many people. There is not a bond that this court could set that could assure that you would not be a danger to the community,“ the judge said.
Assistant United States Attorney Karen Gilbert said she was gratified by the judge’s decision. Gilbert spoke briefly to reporters after the hearing.
“We asked for secure detention and we are pleased that the judge granted it,” Gilbert said.
Asst. Public defender Alex Arteaga-Gomez had asked that Solano be released with an ankle monitor.
The defense attorney said Solano was a hard worker, had never traveled out of the United States since arriving here more than 12 years ago, owned no weapons, and had a history of only minor arrests and no prior history of violence.
Arteaga-Gomez said Solano had never had real contact with ISIS, did not attend services at any Islamic mosque, and had never posted any online threats against the United States, beyond the one allegedly posted in March, 2017, about changing his name to Abad and supporting the “black flag.”
Prosecutor Gilbert countered, “He wanted to kill as many people as he could in a food court on a very crowded Friday night.”
When he was arrested, an FBI agent testified, Solano admitted to scheming to bomb the mall, but said he thought he was working with a police officer in a counter- terror effort, referring to a confidential informant who alerted the FBI to Solano’s desire to wage war against the United States.
The FBI agent said Thursday Solano would have no reason to believe he was working with a police officer, having established a relationship with the confidential informant, and knowing that the confidential informant had spent four years in prison for a serious offense.
Investigators said Solano planned to leave a bomb in the Dolphin Mall during Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving – one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
It’s something that was unsettling to some shoppers at the mall earlier this week.
“It’s scary, because you would never think that it would hit so close to home. It’s incredible,“ said shopper Evelyn Roberto.
Solano first faced a judge in federal court Monday. Solano told the judge he has no money, works as a house painter and does not own property. Solano, who does not speak English, spoke only Spanish in court.
Federal agents say Solano was acting alone, a home-grown terrorist who wanted to place a pressure cooker bomb in a suitcase inside the mall’s food court that would be detonated with a cellphone.