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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

American Airlines Mechanic Pleads Guilty to Attempted Aircraft Destruction Charge

MIAMI -Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, of Tracy, California pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke, to a single count indictment charging him with attempted destruction of an aircraft.

According to the court record, including the facts admitted at the change of plea hearing, on or about July 17, 2019, Alani, a mechanic then employed by American Airlines at Miami International Airport (MIA), tampered with the air data module (ADM) system of an aircraft that was scheduled to depart MIA for Nassau, Bahamas. 

On or about July 17, 2019, approximately two hours after its arrival into MIA, the aircraft pulled out for its scheduled departure to the Bahamas.  Passengers and crew members were aboard the aircraft.  While number one for taking the departure runway, the flight crew increased power to the aircraft engines in preparation for take-off.  This resulted in an error reading by the aircraft’s computer related to the ADM system and the take-off was aborted. 

Prior to the aircraft’s scheduled take-off from MIA, Alani had inserted a foam substance into the ADM system and used super glue to hold the substance in place.

Alani is currently detained and is scheduled to be sentenced in March of 2020, before Judge Cooke.  He faces a maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI’s South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  She thanked the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service, Miami-Dade Police Department’s Airport Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami-Dade County Aviation Authority and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for their invaluable assistance.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy A. Hummel and Maria K. Medetis.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated December 18, 2019