MIT grad to serve up to 10 years in Las Vegas terrorism case

Updated August 9, 2018 - 9:25 pm

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate who prosecutors say stored a cache of explosives in his Las Vegas home was ordered Thursday to serve four to 10 years behind bars.

But while Nicolai Mork serves time in state prison, federal authorities will continue to dig into his computer storage, investigating whether he committed further crimes, prosecutors said.

Mork, 41, pleaded guilty in June to attempted unlawful acts related to weapons of mass destruction and possession of components of an explosive or incendiary device with the intent to manufacture.

“I’m very sorry for my actions,” Mork told District Judge Jennifer Togliatti. “And I’m just glad that no one was injured or otherwise harmed.”

Las Vegas police first tracked Mork in December 2016 after linking him to at least eight Molotov cocktails found near “seemingly random homes” in the southeast valley neighborhood where he lived, according to court records.

Inside Mork’s home, detectives discovered 264 pounds of a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, commonly referred to as Tannerite. The combination “could cause substantial damage to Mork’s residence and the houses around him,” his arrest report stated.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jake Villani said he did not believe Mork’s prior statement that he did not know the possession was illegal and had the weapons and ammunition for target practice.

“I was hoping he would take more responsibility and he would learn from this, and it doesn’t appear that he has,” Villani said after the sentencing. “That’s concerning to the state, but given that, it’s a good negotiation for both sides.”

In previous court hearings, prosecutors showed video found on one of Mork’s computers that depicted him attacking a woman inside his apartment, though he was not charged in connection with that incident.

While investigating how Mork obtained the chemicals, detectives also found 17 hard drives on a desktop computer with 63 terabytes of data.

Authorities said Mork kept underskirt photos of women he had apparently taken with a hidden camera inside a rolling bag. Police also discovered “violent child pornography” and images of Mork having sex with “seemingly unconscious women,” the prosecutor said.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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