FBI Arrests Mentally Ill Man After Helping Him Create A Fake Bomb
The FBI arrested Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, Thursday night near a Bank of America branch in Oakland as part of a sting operation where an undercover cop supplied him with a fake bomb.
Llaneza had minutes earlier parked an SUV in front of the bank believing the vehicle contained an explosive rigged to detonate from a cellphone command, authorities said. Llaneza was arrested as he stood nearby and tried to detonate the device with a cellphone.
The FBI says Llaneza expressed support for the Taliban and had hoped the bombing would be blamed on anti-government activists and would somehow spark a civil war after a severe government crackdown. The FBI said Llaneza expressed a desire to travel to Afghanistan to train Taliban fighters.
He is a convert to the Islam religion who was once involuntary placed in a psychiatric unit by police, officials said.
The FBI says that on Nov. 30, Llaneza first met with an undercover agent he believed to be connected to the Taliban and the mujahidin in Afghanistan. That’s when he allegedly laid out his plan to bomb a financial institution.
The two met three more times in December to finalize the plan, according to an affidavit written by FBI agent Christopher Monika. Monika said the FBI rented a storage unit in Hayward and “positioned a sports utility (SUV) in it for its use as the delivery vehicle for the car bomb.”
On Jan. 26, the two constructed the “bomb” by pouring chemicals purchased and mixed by the FBI into 12 five-gallon buckets in the rear of the SUV. Llaneza purchased two cellphones, an LED light, a 9-volt battery and a “battery snap cap” to construct the device. The undercover agent rigged one of the cellphones to serve as the trigger. The FBI says the device was inert and never in danger of exploding.
They met one more time Feb. 2 to make sure the trigger worked, and they connected the blasting cap and the trigger to the device.
Llaneza was arrested and lodged into a psychiatric unit for three days. He was then taken to jail where he remained for about six months.
Police found a journal with some alarming writings in the recreational vehicle, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci.
“There was a lot of gibberish and random thoughts,” Kianerci said. “There were some definite mental illness issues.”
On Jan. 31, a Portland, Ore., jury convicted Mohamed Mohamud, 21, of attempting to bomb a Portland Christmas tree-lighting in November 2010 with a dummy device provided by undercover agents. In October, the FBI arrested Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, after he tried to detonate a dummy 1,000-pound bomb supplied by the FBI in front of the New York Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan.
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