Baltimore man tried to set off bomb that turned out to be phony, officials
Dec. 8, 2010
BALTIMORE — A man has been arrested for plotting to blow up a military
recruitment center in the Baltimore area, authorities said Wednesday.
The Baltimore man tried to detonate a vehicle bomb at an Armed Forces
recruitment center in Catonsville, Md., on Wednesday in a plot that was a
sting operation, the U.S. Justice Department said.
"There was no actual danger to the public as the explosives were inert and
the suspect had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months,"
said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.
At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Antonio Martinez, also known as Muhammad
Hussain, was ordered held without bond until another hearing Monday.
Court documents say Martinez posted statements on his Facebook page in
late September that attracted the attention of a confidential law
enforcement source. "Any 1 who opposes ALLAH and HIS Prophet, PEACE Be
upon Him, I hate you with all my heart," it said.
In October, the documents say, Martinez told the source that "all he
thinks about is jihad" and that he was hoping to attack Army recruiting
The court documents say he at first thought about getting a gun and firing
shots. By late October, Martinez allegedly was talking about building a
bomb using propane tanks but had no idea how to build one.
From October to November, the documents say, Martinez approached three
people he thought might help, but all turned him down. Law enforcement
officials describe the three as "buddies" of Martinez and say they
considered him to be unstable.
In mid-November, an FBI undercover agent posing as an Afghani sympathetic
to jihad approached Martinez, who allegedly asked him if he knew "how to
do something with propane" and that the agent told him it would not take
much to make a powerful car bomb.
The two drove to the recruiting center early Wednesday with what Martinez
thought was a real bomb, officials said. He was arrested after he tried to
set it off. The Armed Forces Career Center, located in a shopping center,
houses Army, Air Force and Marine Corps recruiters.
The documents say Martinez had a crisis after learning of the undercover
operation in Portland, Ore., that resulted in the arrest of a man there in
an FBI sting , and feared he might be ensnared in a similar sting. But he
decided to go ahead with his plot anyway, the documents say.
Authorities said there is no evidence the man is tied to the recent
shootings at military recruiting centers in the Washington, D.C. metro
area. An unknown person shot at military buildings at least five times
between Oct. 16 and Nov. 2. No one was injured in the shootings.