A 23-year-old man is being accused by the FBI of planning to build a bomb and plant it under the sand at a beach in Key West. That man has been named as Harlem Suarez aka Almlak Benitez.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. He Lived a Second Life on Facebook as an ISIS Soldier
According to the FBI that Suarez that has been accused of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The agency also says that the suspect had been influenced by ISIS. In publicly released documents, the Feds that Suarez had been in contact with an FBI Under Cover employee since April 2015. The pair regularly met up to discuss plans for an attack against U.S. citizens and/or cops and military. During one meeting, the two went to a hotel to record a propaganda video out lining their goals The FBI first got wind of Suarez through his Almlak Benitez Facebook page which has since been deleted. On it he regularly posted pro-Islamic State messages. Later, in June 2015, a pawn shop in Key West contacted that the FBI to say a man had come in to say that he had ordered two AK-47 rifles and that they were to be delivered to the pawn shop, that man was Harlem Suarez. Due to an error in paperwork, Suarez never came in possession of the guns. It was after this that he began talking to the UCE about plans to build a nail bomb. The two had rehearsed their plan right up until July 27, when Suarez came into possession of what he believed to be the explosive, which he thought was going to be remote detonated with a cell phone, he was arrested shortly after.
2. At the Time of His Arrest He Was Living With His Dad in Key West
According to the Facebook page that he operated under his real name, Suarez is a native of Key West, Florida and lived there with his father, Bernardo. Online records show that the two lived on Shrimp Road in the island community.
3. Less Than 2 Months Ago, He Was Partying at a Strip Club Saying He Was ‘Blowing Up’
On one of his friend’s Facebook pages, it’s written that on May 30, Suarez was at Bare Assets strip club in Key West. The suspect wrote on that update “I’m ready to make it rain while I’m blowing up.”
4. The FBI Continues to Work Around the Clock Against ISIS Sympathizers in the U.S.
After his arrest, FBI spokesman George L. Piro said:
There is no room for failure when it comes to investigating the potential use of a weapon of mass destruction. The FBI and our local, state and federal partners work around the clock to prevent such catastrophic weapons from being used against our citizens. Even so, we ask the public to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.
5. Investigators Are Confident That Chattanooga Gunman Mohammed Abdulazeez Had No ISIS Ties
Suarez is just the latest person in the U.S. to be arrested in connection to ISIS. Most recently, in June 2015, New Yorker Fareed Mumuni was arrested in Staten Island accused of pledging allegiance to ISIS. The feds say that Mumuni also admitted to planning a Boston Marathon style bombing with a friend. Investigators have stated that Chattanooga gunman Mohammed Abdulazeez did not have any ties to ISIS.