CHICAGO — Derrick Shareef, a Rockford, Ill., man, was sentenced today to 420 months (35 years) in prison by U.S. District Judge David Coar for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in connection with a plot to set off several grenades in garbage cans at a Rockford shopping mall in December 2006. Shareef was arrested on Dec. 6, 2006 by agents of the FBI-led Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) when he met with an undercover agent at a store parking lot in Rockford to trade a set of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a hand gun.
On Jan. 4, 2007, a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois returned an indictment charging Shareef with violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2332a, Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and 844(I), Attempted Use of an Explosive to Destroy a Building.
The indictment against Shareef alleged that he planned to set off several grenades at the CherryVale Shopping Mall, near the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 39 on the east side of Rockford, about 90 miles northwest of Chicago. The shopping mall has approximately 130 retail stores.
The mall was among several potential targets that Shareef allegedly discussed during the course of the investigation – the others were primarily local government facilities. At all times Shareef allegedly was acting on his plan between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, 2006, he was in contact with an acquaintance, who unbeknownst to him was cooperating with the FBI, and an undercover agent who was posing as the cooperating individual’s friend.
On Nov. 28, 2007, Shareef pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
This case was investigated by the Chicago JTTF, which is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from throughout the Northern District of Illinois, all of whom contributed to the investigation. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sergio Acosta and Carrie Hamilton.