Thursday, June 23, 2011
Two Men Charged in Plot to Attack Seattle Military Processing Center
Defendants Sought Firearms and Grenades to Attack Complex Where Enlistees Report
SEATTLE – Two men were arrested late last night and are charged by criminal complaint with terrorism and firearms related charges. The complaint alleges that Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, aka Joseph Anthony Davis, 33, of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, aka Frederick Domingue, Jr., 32, of Los Angeles, took possession of machine guns that they purchased and planned to use in an attack on the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) located on East Marginal Way, Seattle.
Law enforcement has been monitoring Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh, including the weapons transaction, to prevent the attack and protect the public. Unbeknownst to the defendants, the weapons were rendered inoperable and posed no risk to the public. The defendants initially planned an attack on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State, but later changed targets. The defendants intended to carry out their attack with both grenades and machine guns.
“The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because someone stepped forward and reported it to authorities. I commend the joint efforts of the FBI, the Seattle Police Department, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force who quickly recognized the seriousness of the threat and ensured the safety of the community.”
Law enforcement first became aware of the potential threat when a citizen alerted them that he/she had been approached 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. Since early June the conspirators were captured on audio and videotape discussing a violent assault on the Military Entrance Processing Station. 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.
“Driven by a violent, extreme ideology, these two young Americans are charged with plotting to murder men and women who were enlisting in the Armed Forces to serve and protect our country. This is one of a number of recent plots targeting our military here at home, ” said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “The threat was averted by the combined efforts of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers that make up the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
“The FBI remains committed to utilizing intelligence-based investigations to thwart would-be terrorists,” said Laura Laughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle Division. “This case epitomizes the value and capabilities of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force concept as a means of preventing acts of terrorism. But for the courage of the cooperating witness, and the efforts of multiple agencies working long and intense hours, the subjects might have been able to carry out their brutal plan.”
“This attack was foiled because of the trust and relationships the men and women of the Seattle Police Department enjoy with our community,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. “The complainant felt safe approaching a Seattle Police Detective and, in doing so, ended the plot intended to take innocent lives. This cooperative investigation involving local, state, and federal partners worked exactly as intended.”
Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh are charged by complaint with conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (grenades), and possession of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Abdul-Latif is also charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms. The defendants will make their initial appearance on the complaint at 2:30 p.m. in front of Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler, on the 12th floor of the federal courthouse at 700 Stewart Street, Seattle.
Both Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh face potential sentences of life in prison if convicted of the charges.
The case is being 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. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives contributed significant expertise to this investigation.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.