A citizen of Honduras, Vicente Adolfo Solano, 53, who resided in Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty to attempting to give material support to the ISIS terrorist organization. On Wednesday, Solano pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Sentencing is expected on May 30. Solano faces a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. He first came to the U.S. on a tourist visa more than ten years ago. In 2002, Solano was granted Temporary Protected Status for “humanitarian reasons,” according to the DOJ, thus preventing his deportation.  

According to documents filed by prosecutors in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida, Solano told confidential source for the federal government that he was opposed to the United States and wanted to carry out an attack in Miami. Later in 2017, Solano told the informant that he wanted to join ISIS.

Solano’s plan was to emplace and detonate a bomb at the popular Dolphin shopping mall in Miami, discussing it with two undercover FBI employees and the informant. The Dolphin shopping mall is one of the three largest venues in the state of Florida. According to the federal complaint, Solano scouted the mall and searched for the best spot to plant his explosive device, saying that food court or an area where people sing. "Those are the areas where more people gather," he told an undercover agent, according to the complaint. Solano said he would plant the bomb in luggage and leave, and said the day of the attack didn't matter, "as long as there is [sic] a lot of people," the complaint said.

According to prosecutors, Solano provided three videos in which he condemns the U.S. and praises ISIS. In one the videos he produced, Solano spoke in Spanish and wore a black mask while standing in front of an ISIS flag, according to the federal complaint. "I love that there is going to be a holy war," he said in one video. “I am here because I like the way that ISIS confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition. They’re strong. It’s a group that is growing in social media. I love that there is going to be a holy war." Solano also referenced the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and Harlem Suarez, who received a life sentenced for a failed bomb plot in Key West. "I am going to plant a bomb like in-like in Boston, in the name of Allah," Solano said, according to the complaint. "Like in Boston, like Suarez wanted to do in the Keys, that's how they're going to get it, and even worse." Suarez 

In one of his videos, Solanos ranted, “The racist president who is a supremacist — white, who does not like Blacks, does not like the Chinese, he does not like the Muslims, he doesn’t like the Hispanics. He does not like anybody. They are indeed murderers, genocidists, invaders of this country who came to this country to kill all of the Indians. They abolished them, and now they’re telling us to get out of here. They are the ones who have to leave. (Expletive) that. In the name of Allah and our leader, Abu, we are going to defeat you.”

In one of the videos, Solano spoke in Spanish, saying: “I am here because I like the way that ISIS confronts the United States and the countries of the coalition. They’re strong. It’s a group that is growing in social media. I love that there is going to be a holy war....

“The United States is the most terrorist country of them all,” Solano continued. “It invades when it wants to and when it’s convenient for them. That is why I am joining the Islamic group, the holy war, in the name of Allah, of our leader Abu.”

Solano was renting a room in Sweetwater, Florida, and was engaged as a painter. He owned no property. When he met with undercover agents, he "described his feeling of exclusion that stems from his temporary immigration status," according to the complaint. The United States provided Temporary Protected Status to citizens of Honduras and Nicaragua following the devastating Hurricane Mitch of 1998. These persons benefited from several extensions of TPS, which also provided work permits.

In October 2017, Solano met with the undercover agents at a hotel, where they assembled the fake bomb. There, Solano practiced arming the device, which was inert and could never actually explode, the complaint said. Accompanied by one of the undercover agents, Solano went to the mall and armed the fake bomb which began a count-down. However, the bomb was inert and did not pose a risk to innocent victims. As he walked to the mall from the parking lot, he was arrested by local police with FBI backup. 

Police records show that Solano had a long list of minor criminal offenses, including 47 traffic citations, a misdemeanor assault arrest, and a failure to appear in court for driving with a suspended license.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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