A Honduran migrant has pleaded guilty to his involvement in a plan to blow up a shopping mall in Miami on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS).
Vicente Adolfo Solano, 53, told an undercover agent in 2017 that he was unhappy with the United States and wanted to carry out an attack in Miami’s Dolphin Mall, and also expressed a desire to join the caliphate.
“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,” reads a statement from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. “Later, Solano told this CHS that he wanted to join ISIS.”
The statement continues:
According to the complaint, Solano provided three videos to the CHS, in which Solano makes pro-ISIS statements and expresses anti-U.S. sentiments.
Just prior to his arrest, Solano took possession of what he believed was an explosive device, took steps to arm it, and walked toward a mall entrance in order to carry out his attack.
Unbeknownst to Solano, the device was inert and did not pose a risk to the public. Solano was taken into custody prior to entering the Mall.
In an affidavit submitted to the courts, FBI Special Agent David Clancy described Solano’s behavior in the run-up to his arrest, which included filming ISIS videos where he detailed his grievances with the United States.
“The CHS indicated that Solano had become increasingly upset with the policies of the United States Government and its activities throughout the world,” wrote Clancy.
“Solano cited these grievances as motivation for his desire to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States,” he continued. “Solano explained to the CHS that his intended target would be a specified mall in Miami and that he planned to strike on ‘Black Friday,’ believed to refer to the Friday after Thanksgiving.”
“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.”
The affidavit then details statements made by Solano in the video:
I am here because I like the way ISIS confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition. They’re strong.
[T]he United States is the most terrorist country of them all. 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. That’s how its’ going to be done.
In a second video, Solano reveals his support for ISIS:
I am here because I am a sympathizer of the Islamic group, ISIS. … We must join the ISIS cause.
They are indeed murderers, genocidists, invaders of this country who came to this country to kill all of the Indians.
They abolished them, and now they’re telling us to get out of here. 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.
Solano was first charged with terrorism-related activity and planning to detonate a weapon of mass destruction last October. When sentenced, he is likely to face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.