BALTIMORE (AP) -- A 21-year-old construction worker who had recently converted to Islam and told an FBI informant he thought about nothing but jihad was arrested Wednesday when he tried to detonate what he thought was a bomb at a military recruitment center, authorities said.
There were many similarities to the recent attempted bombing arrest involving a van full of fake explosives in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas tree lighting event.
Antonio Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen also known as Muhammad Hussain, faces charges of attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
The bomb he is accused of trying to detonate was fake and had been provided by an undercover FBI agent. It was loaded into an SUV that Martinez parked in front of the recruiting center, authorities said, and an FBI informant picked him up and drove him to a nearby vantage point where he tried to set it off.
It was the second time in less than two weeks that a young man was arrested trying to detonate what he thought was a bomb during a sting operation.
"There was never any actual danger to the public during this operation this morning," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said Wednesday after a hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. "That's because the FBI was controlling the situation."
Martinez appeared in court Wednesday afternoon and was ordered held until a hearing Monday.
According to court documents, he has been on the FBI's radar screen since October, when he told a confidential FBI source he wanted to attack and kill military personnel. Investigators believed Martinez posed a genuine threat and that he came up with the plan by himself.