(CNSNews.com) - A Honduran national living in Miami—Vicente Adolfo Solano--has pleaded guilty to “attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)” after the Federal Bureau of Investigation surveilled him as he tried to carry out what he thought was a plot to bomb a Florida shopping mall.
“According to the stipulated factual basis filed with the Court, in early 2017, Solano told an individual, who later became a Confidential Human Source (‘CHS’) for the government, that he was upset with the United States and wanted to conduct an attack in Miami,” the Department of Justice said in a statement released today.
“Later, Solano told this CHS that he wanted to join ISIS,” said DOJ.
“Solano planned to place and detonate an explosive device in a crowded area of a popular Miami mall,” DOJ said. “Solano discussed his plot with the CHS and two undercover FBI employees.”
In an affidavit submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, FBI Special Agent David Clancy described Solano’s actions leading to his arrest and guilty plea.
“In late September 2017, FBI agents began an investigation of Solano,” Clancy said in the affidavit. “The investigation was initiated based on information provided by a Confidential Human Source (‘CHS’), who had been working with the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
“The CHS indicated that Solano had become increasingly upset with the policies of the United States Government and its activities throughout the world,” said Clancy. “Solano cited these grievances as motivation for his desire to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States. Solano explained to the CHS that his intended target would be a specified mall in Miami (the Specified Mall) and that he planned to strike on ‘Black Friday,’ believed to refer to the Friday after Thanksgiving.”
Later, Solano sent this source videos expressing his views and intentions.
“On September 13, 2017,” Clancy said in his affidavit, “the CHS received a series of text messages that contained three videos from telephone number 786-560-xxxx. The telephone number 786-560-xxxx was known to the CHS as the telephone number used by Solano.
“The three videos sent by Solano featured a man wearing a black mask and shirt standing in front of a black flag identical to the one used by ISIS,” said the affidavit. “The CHS identified the voice of the individual in the video as that of Solano.”
Solano spoke in Spanish on the videos, but the FBI affidavit published English translations of what he said.
“I am here because I like the way ISIS confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition,” Solano said, according to the FBI affidavit. “They’re strong.”
“[T]he United States is the most terrorist country of them all,” said this Honduran. “It invades when it wants to and when it’s convenient for them. That is why I am joining the Islamic group, the holy war, in the name of Allah, of our leader Abu.”
“I am going to plant a bomb like in—like in Boston, in the name of Allah, in the name of Allah,” Solano said. “That’s how its’ going to be done.”
In the second video, Solano reiterated his admiration for ISIS and his desire to attack the United States.
“I am here because I am a sympathizer of the Islamic group, ISIS,” he said.
“We must join the ISIS cause,” he said.
“They are indeed murderers, genocidists, invaders of this country who came to this country to kill all of the Indians,” he said of Americans.
“They abolished them, and now they’re telling us to get out of here,” he said. “They are the ones who have to leave. F--- that. In the name of Allah and our leader, Abu, we are going to defeat you.”
In the third video, Solano issued a similar message. “I am making this video because I am joining the cause of the Islamic group, ISIS,” it started.
After receiving the videos, the confidential source met with Solano at a coffee shop in a meeting monitored by the FBI. “Solano reiterated his desire to attack the Specified Mall on Black Friday,” says the FBI affidavit. “Solano emphasized his attack desires by stating that he want to ‘set off a bomb and [has] the balls to do it.’”
The confidential source put Solano in touch with an undercover FBI employee (UCE1). “Later in the conversation, Solano offered to take UCE1 to see the Specified Mall,” says the affidavit. “UCE1 accepted, and the pair travelled together to the Specified Mall where Solano walked the UCE through his full attack plan.”
In late October, as described in the affidavit, the plan was seemingly ready to proceed.
“Solano met with UCE1 and UCE2 at a hotel on Friday, October 20, 2017, to put the device together,” said FBI Special Agent Clancy in the affidavit. “Unbeknownst to Solano, the device was inert and could never actually explode. While in the hotel room, Solano practiced arming the device.
“Solano left the hotel room and entered the vehicle of UCE1,” say the affidavit. “When they arrived at the mall, Solano took the steps that he believed would arm the device and the timer began to count down. Solano exited UCE1’s vehicle and began to walk towards the previously-determined mall entrance.
“Solano,” says the affidavit, “was taken into custody prior to entering the Specified Mall. At the time of his arrest, the Specified Mall was open for business and populated with shoppers.”
Under the terms of his guilty plea, according to DOJ, Solano faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
“Solano pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1),” said the statement released by the department today. “Sentencing is set for May 30, 2018, at 9:15 a.m. before United States District Judge Paul C. Huck in Miami. Solano faces a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.”