nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Diaz (S.D. Fla.) (another sentencing in an ISIL-related case)

A busy week for ISIL-related cases: This one involves a 10-year sentence on a gun charge, in a case in which DOJ is emphasizing the defendant’s interest in ISIL. Note that, once again, social media posts provided the tip-off, followed by interactions with a confidential source. From the press release:

WASHINGTON – Miguel Moran Diaz, 45, of Miami, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard of the Southern District of Florida to the statutory maximum term of 120 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, following his guilty plea for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

…“Miguel Moran Diaz was an armed, convicted felon who harbored sympathies for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” said Special Agent in Charge Piro. “He called himself a ‘Lone Wolf’ for ‘ISIS.’ This is not a scenario where law enforcement can afford to wait and see what happens next. The FBI and our partners in the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated and disrupted this threat to South Florida.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, in late January 2015, Diaz came to the attention of the FBI due in part to Facebook postings in the name of “Azizi Al Hariri,” a photo of Diaz possessing a firearm and articles regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Thereafter, during a subsequent undercover operation, Diaz told an FBI confidential source that he was a convicted felon and could not purchase a firearm. Diaz asked the confidential source to purchase him a “baby Glock” (a small concealable semi-automatic firearm) and other weapons, in exchange for $500. Diaz proposed that he would arrange to have the guns “stolen” from the confidential source’s vehicle.

Diaz also advised that he already owned a number of weapons, including a rifle, handgun and a Ket Tec 2000 with a collapsible stock that he would use to conceal the firearm. Diaz showed the confidential source photographs of him holding firearms and also displayed a gun that was concealed in his vehicle.

On Jan. 30, 2015, during a meeting with the confidential source in Miami, Diaz described himself as a “Lone Wolf” for ISIS. Diaz indicated that he wanted to acquire a .308 caliber bolt action rifle and intended to scratch “ISIS” into the shell casings. Diaz claimed that after he killed people, authorities would find the shell casings and put the city on lockdown as they attempted to locate the sniper. Diaz also used his iPhone to view Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP’s) Inspire Magazine website in order to learn how to build bombs.

On Feb. 8, 2015, the confidential source again met with Diaz in Miami in order to conduct target practice with loaded firearms.

On March 20, 2015, the confidential source asked Diaz if he would like to purchase any additional ammunition. Diaz stated that he had approximately 500 rounds of ammunition at his residence,but wanted to purchase 500 additional rounds if the price was good.

On April 2, 2015, the FBI executed a warrant and found Diaz driving a vehicle while in possession of a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition and a magazine containing 15 addition rounds. A search of Diaz’s residence revealed an additional Kel-tec 2000, .40 caliber rifle and approximately 200 to 300 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.

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