Suspect arrested in alleged terrorism plot against targets in California

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A short time ago, federal and local authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with an alleged domestic terrorism plot aimed at “multiple targets” in Southern California, officials announced Monday and Fox5Atlanta has reported.

According to the Department of Justice, a San Fernando Valley man was arrested Friday night after he received what he thought was a live bomb, but in fact was an inert explosive device that was delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer as part of an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The suspect, 26 year old, Mark Steven Domingo of Reseda, California is a former U.S. Army infantryman with combat experience in Afghanistan, faces federal charges in a terrorist plot in which he planned to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) for the purpose of causing mass casualties.

Fox31 in Denver stated that Domingo had converted to Islam and had planned to bomb a white supremacist rally in Southern California as retribution for the New Zealand mosque attacks.

In a criminal complaint filed Saturday by federal prosecutors and unsealed earlier today, Domingo was charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Domingo, who has been in federal custody since his arrest, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court.

According to a 30-page affidavit in support of the complaint, since early March, Domingo “planned and took steps to manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”

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“This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Protecting Americans from terror attacks is the number one priority of the Justice Department, and anyone who plots to use a weapon of mass destruction will be held to account.”

According to the Department of Justice:

In online posts and in conversations with an FBI source, Domingo expressed support for violent jihad, a desire to seek retribution for attacks against Muslims, and a willingness to become a martyr, according to the affidavit. After considering various attacks – including targeting Jews, churches, and police officers – Domingo decided to detonate an IED at a rally scheduled to take place in Long Beach this past weekend. As part of the plot, Domingo asked his confederate – who actually was cooperating with the FBI as part of the investigation – to find a bomb-maker, and Domingo last week purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside the IED.

“Domingo said he specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” the affidavit states.

After Domingo provided the nails to the undercover operative for use in the construction of the bomb, Domingo sent a message on Thursday indicating that the operation was to proceed, according to the affidavit. On Friday evening, the undercover operative delivered multiple inert devices, which Domingo believed were weapons of mass destruction. After inspecting the devices and travelling to a park in Long Beach to surveil the location of the planned attack, Domingo was taken into custody.

According to the criminal complaint, Domingo posted an online video professing his Muslim faith on March 2, and the next day made another posting in which he said “America needs another vegas event” (referring to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada) that would give “them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.” Following an attack on a mosque in New Zealand on March 13, Domingo posted, “there must beretribution.”

If convicted, Domingo would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

Read more here and here.

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