Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Security: Man sentenced to 17 years in plot to attack military processing center

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Western District of Washington

SEATTLE—A former Los Angeles resident was sentenced today to 17 years in prison in connection with the June 2011 plot to attack a military installation in Seattle, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan announced. Walli Mujahidh, 34, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to conspiracy to murder officers and agents of the United States and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Mujahidh plotted with lead defendant Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif of Seattle in a plan to use grenades and machine guns to attack recruits at the Military Entrance Processing Center in a federal office complex in south Seattle. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart imposed 10 years of supervised release following the prison term.

“This defendant was a cold-hearted, enthusiastic partner in this murderous scheme. He talked at length in recorded conversations about the innocent people he planned to gun down,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Even after his arrest, he boldly tried to justify his plot. I am thankful this plot was disrupted and again thank the FBI and Seattle Police Department.”

The other defendant in the case, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, of Seattle, was sentenced to 18 years in prison last month.

Law enforcement first became aware of the plot when a citizen alerted them that he/she had been approached by Abdul-Latif about participating in the attack and supplying firearms to the conspirators. The person then agreed to work with law enforcement, which began monitoring Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh. Beginning in early June 2011, the conspirators were captured on audio and videotape discussing a violent assault on the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The MEPS is where each branch of the military screens and processes enlistees. In addition to housing many civilian and military employees, the building houses a federal daycare center.

In his plea agreement, Mujahidh admitted that he agreed to carry out the planned attack and that he traveled to Seattle from Los Angeles to participate in the attack. Mujahidh arrived in Seattle on June 21, 2011. On that same day, during a meeting between Abdul-Latif, Mujahidh and a person who was working with law enforcement, Abdul-Latif outlined the plan of attacking the MEPS with machine guns and grenades and took steps to purchase weapons and further the plot. In accordance with the defendants’ plan, the next day the person working with police brought three machine guns to a meeting with Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh. The men were arrested after they took possession of the weapons, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement.

In their sentencing memo, prosecutors describe multiple times where Mujahidh described his enthusiasm for the attack and his terrorist motivations. “During the planning sessions for the attack, Mujahidh made clear that he was eager to kill his intended victims, and as many as possible. He made numerous statements along these lines while he and Abdul-Latif planned out the play-by-play movements of the attackers using the map of the Federal Center South building,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement and the Seattle Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) contributed significant expertise to this investigation.