nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Abdo (W.D. Tex. May 24, 2012) (conviction in bomb plot)

A conviction today on all counts in another case arising in Texas, this one involving a bomb plot. Details from the DOJ press release:

WACO, Texas – A jury this afternoon in Waco convicted 22-year-old Naser Jason Abdo on federal charges in connection with a July 2011 bomb plot in Killeen, Texas. The conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.

The jury convicted Abdo of one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence; and, two counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.

Testimony presented at trial revealed that on July 27, 2011, Abdo unlawfully attempted to create and detonate a bomb in an attempt to kill, with pre-meditation and malice aforethought, members of the uniformed services of the United States and to shoot survivors of said detonation with a firearm. Evidence further revealed that Abdo did knowingly possess a .40 caliber semi­automatic pistol while carrying out his plot.

“It’s important to note that this plot was interrupted and a potential tragedy prevented because an alert citizen notified law enforcement of suspicious activity, triggering prompt investigation and intervention. While we in law enforcement will be aggressive in investigating and prosecuting people like Mr. Abdo, we depend on the vigilance of the public in helping ensure the safety of the community,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

Officers with the Killeen Police Department arrested Abdo on July 27, 2011. At the time of his arrest, the defendant, an absent without leave (AWOL) soldier from Fort Campbell, Ky., was in possession of the handgun, plus instructions on how to build a bomb as well as bomb making components. Testimony during the trial revealed that Abdo intended to detonate the destructive device inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood.

“This verdict confirms the collective efforts by all of our partners on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to address terrorism in any shape or form, whether it be by one or by many,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.

Abdo remains in federal custody. He faces up to life in federal prison for the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction charge; up to 20 years in federal prison for the attempted murder charge; a mandatory 30 years in prison for each possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence charge; and a mandatory five years in federal prison for each possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence charge. Sentencing is scheduled for 9:00am on July 20, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith.

This case is being investigated by agents with the FBI together with U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Killeen Police Department; and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Frazier and Gregg Sofer of the Western District of Texas and Trial Attorney Larry Schneider of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE USE THE CONTACTS IN THE MESSAGE OR CALL THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT 202-514-2007.

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