Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill today announced that Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, a 26 year old resident of Tampa, has entered a guilty plea to Count One of the Superseding Indictment, in which he is charged with providing material support to terrorists. The maximum penalty defendant Mohamed faces is fifteen years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release. A sentencing date has not be set.
According to the plea agreement and facts presented in Court today, on August 4, 2007, at about 5:30 P.M., Berkeley County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies stopped a Toyota Camry for speeding in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Defendant Mohamed was driving the car.
During a consent search of the vehicle, authorities recovered from the trunk of the vehicle a number of items, including several sections of PVC pipe containing a potassium nitrate mixture compacted between plugs of kitty litter and approximately 20 feet of safety fuse. These materials, which constitute "explosive materials," within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 842(a)(3)(A), had been transported by Defendant Mohamed from Florida. Also in the trunk of the Toyota Camry were separate containers filled with several gallons of gasoline and a potassium nitrate mixture.
Subsequent FBI analysis of Defendant Mohamed’s laptop computer recovered from the car disclosed a large number of file folders containing information relating to the manufacture and use of bombs, rockets, and other explosives, including several video recordings showing the use of such devices to attack and destroy manned United States military vehicles. The FBI analysis also disclosed the viewing history of the laptop computer prior to the time of the Goose Creek traffic stop. The last item played on the laptop computer, prior to the traffic stop, was a video recording relating to the use and firing of Qassam rockets in the Middle East.
Also on the hard drive of Mohamed’s laptop computer was an audio/video recording, approximately twelve minutes in length, produced by Defendant Mohamed. In that recording, Defendant Mohamed personally demonstrated and explained, in Arabic, how a remote-control toy car could be disassembled and how the components of its chassis could be rewired and converted into a detonator for an explosive device. Sometime in July 2007, Defendant Mohamed had uploaded the aforementioned twelve-minute audio/video recording to the YouTube website. The audio/video recording that Defendant Mohamed produced was thus made accessible for viewing by others, both in the United States and abroad, through the internet. The recording was accessed hundreds of times by other persons.
Following his arrest, Defendant Mohamed was interviewed and, among other matters, addressed the aforementioned audio/video recording. He stated that he filmed the video and then uploaded it onto YouTube. He stated that his purpose in producing the audio/video recording was to teach "martyrdoms" and "suiciders" how to save themselves so they could continue to fight the invaders. He said that he considered the United States military, and those fighting with the United States military in Arab countries, to be invaders. He said that he intended the technology demonstrated in his audio/video recording to be used against those who fight for the United States.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorist Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay L. Hoffer and Robert T. Monk.