Feds say Detroit terror suspect planned to kill

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Detroit terror suspect Sebastian Gregerson was indicted Thursday on a new charge alleging he bought explosives and planned to use them to kill people in an unspecified attack.

The new indictment, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, reveals publicly what was alleged in sealed FBI search warrant affidavits obtained in September by The Detroit News.

The indictment, however, does not repeat allegations that a Maryland imam being investigated by the FBI financed part of Gregerson’s weapons arsenal of grenades, AK-47s, handguns, rifles, a shotgun and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In the sealed affidavits, an FBI counterterrorism investigator said agents believed Gregerson and Maryland Imam Suleiman Bengharsa were plotting violent jihad.

The indictment adds two new charges, including receipt of explosive materials with intent to harm — a 10-year felony.

The investigation emerged July 31 when Gregerson, 30, aka Abdurrahman Bin Mikaayl, was arrested in Monroe after allegedly buying fragmentation grenades from an undercover FBI agent and amassing an arsenal of weapons.

The grenades contained 26 ounces of TNT and another explosive similar to the type used by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the failed Christmas Day 2009 terror attack aboard a Detroit-bound airliner.

After receiving the grenades, Gregerson was immediately arrested, according to the FBI. He is being held without bond at the federal prison in Milan pending trial.

The investigation spans at least three states and focused on allegations Gregerson was plotting an attack in support of the Islamic State.

In an exclusive September interview with The News, Bengharsa of Clarksburg, Maryland, laughed away most of the FBI’s allegations, which he called “ridiculous,” and denied being an Islamic State supporter.

“No, no, no, that is absolutely untrue,” Bengharsa, 59, said during a phone interview with The News in September. “It might appear that way. I am an advocate of the United States and the West getting the hell out of the Middle East and the Muslim world.”

Gregerson’s court-appointed lawyer David Tholen has said his client is merely a gun enthusiast, hunter and survivalist who has no criminal record. The firearms in question were bought legally, he added.

He also challenged the government to file terror charges if agents believed Gregerson was plotting an attack.

“I have asked the government to provide me with the information supporting the new charges,” Tholen wrote in an email Friday to The News. “I really cannot comment until I have reviewed that information.”


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