Harlem Suarez, a 23 year old man from Key West, arrested for attempting to detonate rucksack bomb on a public beach in his native city, has pleaded not guilty to the terrorism charges Tuesday in Miami federal court. His attorney. Richard Della Fera, told reporters outside the federal court that Suarez had pleaded not guilty after his preliminary hearing and is requesting a jury trial.
Suarez used an alternate Facebook account using his alias "Almlak Benitez." He had been using the site to spread propaganda and recruit more Jihadists for the ISIS cause, the FBI said. The FBI had set up a sting operation after he allegedly posted a pro-ISIS rhetoric on the aforementioned Facebook page.
If convicted for the principal weapons of mass destruction charge, Suarez, aka "Almlak Benitez," could get a maximum sentence of life, the U.S. attorney's office said. The secondary charge of providing "material support" through his ISIS recruitment video posted to his Facebook page carries up to 20 years imprisonment.
"Destroy our enemies against us. Let live only who are our brothers and sisters," Suarez said in the video, according to an FBI complaint. "American soil is the past, we will destroy America and divide it in two, we will raise our black flag on top of your White House and any president on duty [cut head]."
His parents and friends described him as sometimes naive and delusional, adding that he would not hurt an "ant." His attorney said, "What I've observed that Suarez is a young man who is very immature for his age, has a very low intellect, and I think that that plays into what happened to him."