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Arizona man charged in FBI sting allegedly built bombs in Las Vegas

Updated October 31, 2018 - 5:17 pm

PHOENIX — An Arizona man has been arrested on a charge that he showed an undercover federal agent how to make explosive devices in 2017 sting operation in which a confidential law-enforcement source claimed he wanted to use explosives against a target in Mexico.

Ahmad Suhad Ahmad of Tucson is charged with texting the confidential source bomb-making instructions that were written in Arabic, providing some materials needed to make the devices and instructing an undercover FBI agent on how to assemble bombs.

Authorities say Ahmad, who was arrested Friday, told the confidential source in late 2016 that he had learned how to detonate explosives using cellphones during the war in Iraq.

It’s unclear whether Ahmad’s presence in Iraq during the war was a result of being an Iraqi citizen at the time or serving in the U.S or Iraqi militaries. Ahmad is listed in court records as a U.S. citizen.

Ahmad is charged with distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. He hasn’t yet entered a plea.

“We look forward to our day in court,” Ahmad’s attorney, Walter Goncalves Jr., said in an email to the Associated Press. “Mr. Ahmad is presumed innocent and we look forward to defending him.”

Three months after Ahmad claimed he knew how to detonate bombs remotely, the confidential source asked him how to make a car bomb for a target in Mexico and Ahmad agreed to assist, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Tucson.

Ahmad later emailed the confidential source homemade bomb instructions written in Arabic and listed some of the materials that were needed to build an explosive device, authorities said.

Finally, investigators say Ahmad, the confidential source and two undercover FBI agents traveled from Tucson in late April 2017 to a condominium in Las Vegas, where Ahmad made two bombs and showed one of the agents how to connect blasting caps and where to place C-4 plastic explosives.

Ahmad brought a circuit tester, electrical tape and epoxy to the meeting, while the undercover agents provided other materials for making a bomb, investigators said in court documents.

Court records don’t explain Ahmad’s presence in Iraq during the war, don’t provide any elaboration on the confidential source’s statement on making a bomb for a target in Mexico or explain why the alleged bomb-making demonstration occurred in Las Vegas, when much of the dealings in this case occurred in Arizona.

The U.S. Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting Ahmad, and the FBI declined to answer questions on the case.

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