Sunday, June 17, 2018
News Roundup

Terrorism suspect had bigger plans, recordings suggest

TAMPA — The man accused of plotting to bomb a bar and a casino in Tampa told an undercover FBI agent that he had plans for a larger-scale attack, one that would bring the Tampa Bay area's economy to a halt and one that never came to fruition.

In a recorded conversation that took place in January 2012, days before his arrest, Sami Osmakac told the undercover agent who was posing as a weapons dealer that he had originally hoped to enlist a group of men to blow up five bridges in the area. He named the Gandy Bridge, the Courtney Campbell Causeway and the Howard Frankland Bridge, all major arteries connecting Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, in the recording played for jurors in Osmakac's terrorism trial Thursday.

"This will crush the whole economy. They'll really be terrified," he told the agent, unaware that he was being recorded.

But the Kosovo-born American citizen, who was something of an outcast in the local Muslim community, never persuaded enough people to carry out the attack. "Nobody wants to do it," he lamented.

He had been kicked out of two area mosques and had turned against their leaders who were, to his mind, insufficiently Muslim.

"I'm more worried about people from masjid (mosque) seeing us than the kuffar (infidels)," he told the agent, referring to law enforcement officials.

Osmakac, 27, was charged with possessing an unregistered AK-47 and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Jurors were treated to an afternoon of show and tell on Thursday, as prosecutors passed around the grenades and suicide belt that they say Osmakac bought from the undercover agent. They also were taken to a separate room, where they were shown the 100-pound car bomb that prosecutors say he planned to detonate outside of MacDinton's, an Irish bar in South Tampa. None of the weapons were operative, though Osmakac was unaware of that.

Attorneys for Osmakac say that he was entrapped by the FBI and would never have carried out the attacks without the agency's prodding.

In the recordings played Thursday, he talked excitedly, and somewhat nervously, about the prospect of terrorizing Americans.

"You think Hurricane Katrina was bad, wait until Hurricane al-Qaida comes. It's brewing right now," he told the agent hours before his arrest.

But he made clear to the agent that he didn't know how to use the AK-47, grenades and car bomb. He volunteered to go the library to research the gun.

"I can show you how everything works," the agent assured him.

Comments
Fatherís Day on the water

Fatherís Day on the water

Luis Santana | TimesBoaters take advantage of the calm seas and warm weather to enjoy the waters near the Dunedin Causeway on Fatherís Day. Dozens of boats were beached along the shores of Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Park.
Updated: 5 hours ago
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administrationís move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.Itís also...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

Motorcyclist and pedestrian die in Pasco crash

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A motorcyclist and pedestrian both died in a crash Saturday night near Palmetto Road and U.S. 19, police reported.About 10:30 p.m., a St. Petersburg man, 41, was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle north on the highway, according to the ...
Published: 06/17/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Published: 06/17/18
Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

Chicago soldier killed in Korea finally being laid to rest

CHICAGO — Not long after her father went missing during the Korean War, Carol Elkin spotted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in downtown Chicago and did what any kid might do when coming face to face with the nation’s most famous soldier: She ...
Published: 06/17/18
1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

1 dead, 20 injured in New Jersey arts festival shooting

TRENTON, N.J ó Shooting broke out at an all-night art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people stampeding from the scene and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, a local prosecutor said. Many of the 20 injured were tre...
Published: 06/17/18

spain600 migrants allowed off ships after rescueAbout 600 migrants disembarked from three ships Sunday in the port of Valencia, more than a week after they had been rescued at sea only to be turned away by Italy and Malta. Arriving separately, the Aq...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., June 17, midday:87 662 6806e_SRit48442Sun., June 17, evening:66 701 0866e_SRit27697Fantasy 5Sunday...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Gunfire erupts at festival; 22 hurt

Gunfire erupts at festival; 22 hurt

TRENTON, N.J. ó Gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts and music festival early Sunday morning, sending people running over each other in the scramble to safety, authorities said. One suspect was killed and 22 people, including two suspects, were in...
Updated: 5 hours ago