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Man charged in plot to attack US military recruiting centre

A Maryland man was charged in connection with a plot to attack an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland, the US Justice Department said.

world Updated: Dec 09, 2010 09:31 IST

A Maryland man was on Wednesday charged in connection with a plot to attack an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland, the US Justice Department said.

Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, 21, of Baltimore, Maryland, was arrested on Wednesday after attempting to remotely detonate what he believed were explosives in a vehicle parked in the recruiting station's parking lot.

The device, however, was harmless and had been supplied by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents.

Richard McFeely, from the FBI's Baltimore division, said: "The citizens of Maryland were never in actual danger as this device was inert and his activities were monitored very closely as the plot developed. We are confident we have eliminated the threat that Martinez posed since all evidence developed to date indicates he was acting alone."

Martinez was charged with attempting to murder federal officers and employees and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Martinez first came to the FBI's attention after he reportedly posted messages on his Facebook account calling for "violence to stop the oppression of Muslims".

An FBI source who contacted Martinez via the social networking site said he wanted to go to Pakistan or Afghanistan and his dream was to join the mujahideen.

Law enforcement officials said Martinez attempted to recruit three people for the operation, but all declined.

He appeared in a Baltimore, Maryland, court on Wednesday afternoon and could face a sentence of 20 years to life in prison if found guilty.

The case was similar to that of a teenager arrested last month on suspicion of trying to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon state.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somalia-born naturalized US citizen, was arrested moments before the ceremony took place. He believed he was going to detonate a bomb, but the explosives were dummies provided by FBI agents.

Mohamud, a student at Oregon State University, was accused of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.