Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Thursday, December 18, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Tampa Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Providing Material Support to Terrorists

TAMPA, FLA -- Patrick Rowan, Assistant Attorney for National Security, and A. Brian Albritton, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, a resident of Tampa and native of Egypt, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday to 15 years imprisonment on a charge that he provided material support to terrorists.   Mohamed entered a guilty plea to this charge on June 18, 2008.


U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton said, “Fighting terrorism remains the top priority of the Department of Justice and this Office.   We are satisfied with the Court’s sentence, the maximum allowed by law, which reflects the seriousness of the crime.   The FBI did a tremendous job in investigating this case, and their efforts contributed significantly to the successful prosecution.”


According to court documents, 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 consensual search of the vehicle, authorities recovered from the trunk a number of items, including several sections of PVC pipe containing a potassium nitrate mixture and approximately 20 feet of safety fuse.  These items, which constitute “explosive materials” under applicable federal law, 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 that 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, with assistance from the Berkeley County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office .   The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay L. Hoffer and Robert T. Monk.