FBI Sting Snares Man Allegedly Trying to Detonate Car Bomb at Maryland Military Center

FBI says suspect believed that the U.S. was at war against Muslims.

ByABC News
December 8, 2010, 2:26 PM

Dec. 8, 2010— -- An FBI sting snared a Baltimore man who allegedly was willing to detonate a car bomb outside a military recruitment center in Catonsville, Maryland.

The suspect, Antonio Martinez, used the name "Muhammad Hussain" and was arrested as he tried to set off what he thought was a bomb, the FBI said Wednesday. But the so-called "bomb" was rendered harmless by FBI undercover agents who were in constant contact with Martinez.

The FBI says Martinez believed that the U.S. was at war against Muslims, and tried to recruit others to join him in the plot. Authorities say Martinez was offered several opportunities to back out of the plan by undercover agents, but chose to continue. Prosecutors say Martinez was inspired by the radical cleric Anwar Alawaki of Yemen.

"There was no actual danger to the public as the explosives were inert and the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months," Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said. There was no evidence the plot was linked to recent shootings at military installations in the Washington area, authorities said.

"Stings are part and parcel of the toolbox law enforcement must have and must employ particularly in this kind of a terrorist environment," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today. "There are rules that govern them and they are done very carefully and the FBI abides by those rules, law enforcement abides by those rules but they are an important tool to have."

This time, the FBI was tipped off by a citizen who was concerned about Martinez' Facebook postings.

Just in the past two months, he wrote, "The sword is cumin (sic) the reign of oppression is about 2 cease."

In another post, he wrote, "any 1 who opposes ALLAH and HIS Prophet...I hate you with all my heart."

Authorities say that Martinez seemed obsessed with the military recruitment center, hoping to send a threat to anyone who might want to join the military. This morning, they say he meticulously checked over the bomb components before driving to the center, only to discover it was all part of a sting.