Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— His arrest made national headlines after the feds stopped his deadly plan to blow up a military recruiting center. Now, Antonio Martinez has agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors.
Mike Hellgren tells us how much time Martinez will be spending in jail.
The plea agreement calls for 25 years, but ultimately, it will be up to a judge.
Antonio Martinez told a federal informant he wanted to wage jihad on the United States. Instead, he’s in jail.
The homegrown terror suspect dropped his defense that the government tried to illegally trap him and pleaded guilty to a chilling plan to bomb a military recruiting center in Baltimore County in 2010.
“He intended in fact to kill people,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said. “He intended to do damage, and he admitted that today.”
“He went ahead, armed the bomb on his own after it was presented to him by the undercover agent, drove the car, parked it in front of the building, then went to a vantage point with a confidential source so he could see the effect of what would happen when he actually activated the bomb,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Manuelian explained.
An informant tipped off the FBI after reading radical posts on Martinez’s Facebook page. Secretly recorded conversations exposed his anger with the government.
He said: “I have a desire to die in the cause of Allah, and if I go to hell for that, then I’ll be happy.”
“It’s the unseen war on terror that occurs,” Richard A. McFeely, Special Agent-In-Charge of the Baltimore FBI said. “Every year, hundreds of leads roll into this state from all over the world.”
Martinez’s lawyers weren’t talking. The charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Federal prosecutors agreed to a 25-year sentence, but the judge could make that longer.
“I’d like to especially acknowledge the Muslim community in reaching out to us to help us identify the threat early on,” McFeely said.
“I think the work the FBI did in this case is about as good as it gets,” Rosenstein said. “The investigation documented the intent, gave him every opportunity to withdraw.”
Martinez signed his plea agreement with the name he took after recently converting to Islam– Mohammad Hussain.
Prosecutors say Martinez was trying to recruit other people into his operation. He will be sentenced in early April.
Prosecutors add that Martinez waited until there was seven people inside the recruiting center before trying to detonate what he believed was a bomb.