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Man pleads guilty to plotting attack on military center
A Seattle man pleaded guilty today in connection with the June 2011 plot to attack a military installation in Seattle, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan announced.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a/k/a Joseph Anthony Davis, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, Abdul-Latif will be sentenced to between 17 and 19 years in prison, pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Following the prison term, Abdul-Latif will be on federal supervised release for a term to be decided by the Court. Abdul-Latif is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on March 25, 2013.
“This defendant plotted to kill American servicemen and women, and other innocent people in furtherance of his extremist views,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “The continued vigilance of the community and the work of law enforcement ensured that we were able to successfully disrupt his deadly plan and bring Mr. Abdul-Latif to justice. My thanks go again to the many leaders of the Muslim community who have worked tirelessly with my office to make clear that acts of a few extremists cannot and should not be used to condemn the faith of the many. I want to thank the FBI, Seattle Police Department and the Joint Terrorism Task Force for their work and determination to keep our community safe.”
“The FBI is pleased that Mr. Abdul-Latif accepted responsibility for his actions,” said Laura M. Laughlin, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Seattle office. “Combating terrorism is the highest priority of the FBI, and, as this case demonstrates, also a commitment of the American people. Because Seattle’s Muslim community was alert to and rejected extremist plotting, a cowardly act of violence was prevented. In addition, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Seattle Police Department together moved quickly and effectively on critical intelligence. Today we see Mr. Abdul-Latif face justice as a result of many vital partnerships.”
“This joint SPD-FBI investigation showcases the excellent working relationship we have with our federal partners and sends a strong signal to society’s enemies that we will continue to combine our efforts in both enforcement and prosecution to bring them to justice and hold them accountable,” said Chief John Diaz of the Seattle Police Department.
The other defendant in the case, Walli Mujahidh, 33, of Los Angeles, previously entered a guilty plea in the case on December 8, 2011.
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, Abdul-Latif admits that he agreed to carry out the planned attack and that he made plans for Mujahidh to travel 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.
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, and the Seattle Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) contributed significant expertise to this investigation.