Vicente Adolfo Solano, 53, a citizen of Honduras residing in Miami, was sentenced to 210 months in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, after planning to detonate an explosive device at a Miami mall. Solano pleaded guilty on March 14.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Robert F. Lasky of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck.
“The efforts of the dedicated women and men of the FBI and the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force have kept the people of Miami safe from this ISIS supporter and ensured Solano will go to prison,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “I am grateful for our law enforcement partners, and I applaud our prosecutors for today’s successful outcome and the message it sends: we will not tolerate threats to our country or its people.”
“Any individual who plots to support a foreign terrorist organization puts our local community at risk and this threat remains a top priority for our U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners,” stated U.S. Attorney Greenberg. “Today’s sentence speaks to those who harbor extremist ideals – your terroristic agenda will be thwarted and your punishment of years in prison will be your only lasting legacy.”
“Solano dreamed of detonating an explosive device in a crowded Miami area mall, but he was denied his terroristic aspirations by the outstanding work and team effort of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said Special Agent in Charge Lasky. “This is a job well done by a group of professionals who must remain eternally vigilant.”
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. Later, Solano told this CHS that he wanted to join ISIS.
Solano planned to place and detonate an explosive device in a crowded area of a popular Miami mall. Solano discussed his plot with the CHS and two undercover FBI employees. 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.
Judge Huck imposed a sentence below the statutory maximum recommended by the advisory sentencing guidelines and advocated by the government, noting that the defendant is currently in removal proceedings and will be returned to his native country of Honduras following his prison term. Solano had been residing in the United States under Temporary Protected Status. His protected status has since been revoked.
Mr. Demers and Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen E. Gilbert for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Jolie Zimmerman of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.