Crime

Police: Florida Man Arrested In ISIS-Inspired Plan To Bomb Beach

| by Brendan Kelly

Harlem Suarez, also known as Almlak Benitez, allegedly had plans to bring terror to Key West Beach, Florida. 

The 23-year-old was arrested after feds say they uncovered a plot in which he would detonate a bomb under the sands of Key West Beach. He also reportedly wanted to plant bombs in Miami's South Beach. 

Suarez was brought to the FBI's attention after making Facebook posts that supported and promoted the terrorist organization Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office was tipped off by someone who received a Facebook friend request from a profile with the name "Almlak Benitez."

The profile reportedly had numerous posts asking for help making bombs and threatening death to enemies.

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"I need some emest [sic] from any brother. How to make a bomb send me a video or something, and what do I need to make it," he wrote in one post.

"Be a warrior, learn how to cut your enemies head and then burn down the body [sic] learn how to be the new future of the world Caliphate," another post said.

The Sheriff's Office alerted the FBI, which tracked the page back to the account Suarez kept under his real name. 

That profile is kept private with little public information available. The profile shows he liked a handful of pages, such as the "Poltergeist" movies and rapper Waka Flocka Flame, and also confirms that Suarez is from Key West, Florida. 

Heavy.com reported that Suarez commented on a friend's Facebook page from Bare Assets strip club in Key West, writing, "I'm ready to make it rain while I'm blowing up."

A confidential source from the FBI then contacted Suarez, who revealed his plot to blow up Key West Beach.

He reportedly told the source he planned to use a "timer bomb," a device that can easily be concealed in a backpack. Authorities say he planned to bury the bomb on a public beach and detonate it with a cellphone.

"We can make it with a phone because if one day I get a day off, I can go to the beach at nighttime ... put the thing in the sand ... cover it up," Suarez reportedly said over the phone to the source. "So the next day, I just call and the thing gonna, is gonna make ... a real hard noise from nowhere, and like people are gonna be like what, where this shit came from?"

He allegedly told the source he had two Glock handguns and wanted to obtain grenades, a bulletproof vest and a rifle.

The source eventually met Suarez in person and Suarez revealed that he wanted to make an Islamic State recruiting video, reports Miami New Times. The two apparently made plans to meet at a motel to make the video.

Suarez showed up at the motel dressed in tactical gear and holding weapons. He then made a pitch on camera and talked about wanting to recruit new members from a mosque in Miami, reports Miami New Times.

The source and Suarez eventually agreed that that if Suarez supplied the parts, the source would build the timer bomb that he wanted. On July 19, Suarez reportedly provided the parts. When he showed up to retrieve the bomb, he was arrested.

Suarez had also reportedly previously discussed the possibility of a terrorist attack in Marathon and South Beach during Fourth of July celebrations, but those ideas were not fully planned out.

He has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S., a crime punishable by life in prison.

Sources: Miami New Times, Heavy.com

Photo credit: Miami New Times