Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New details emerge in case of alleged plot to destroy Tampa Bay bridges, attack sheriff's facility

Sami Osmakac is accused of plotting terror attacks.

Sami Osmakac is accused of plotting terror attacks.

TAMPA — Sami Osmakac thought four or five people in a fishing boat would be enough to take down several Tampa Bay bridges, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday.

An attack on the bridges would leave people terrified and bring the area to a halt for at least a month, he told an undercover agent.

"This area has millions, with Pinellas and Tampa ... has like two, three million people. They all, nobody's goin' to work," he said, according to a report filed with the court documents.

The August 2013 report from Evan Kohlmann, a private international terrorism consultant, is based on evidence provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office. It says Osmakac, who was accused in 2012 of plotting massive attacks in Tampa, has the traits of a "homegrown terrorist."

A motion filed Wednesday by defense attorney George Tragos calls Kohlmann's report speculative and asks that he not be allowed to testify. The report, which includes parts of recorded conversations between Osmakac and an undercover FBI agent, gives new details about the plan to attack bridges and a Hillsborough County sheriff's facility.

He thought he could take down at least five bridges with help from five people in a fishing boat, though he said "nobody wants to do it" and considered using a cell phone to detonate explosives, the report said.

Osmakac also wanted to assault a sheriff's operations center in Ybor City and kidnap people from the building, the report said. He had a desire to attack "army people" but said "their bases are so locked up, I have to, I have to do something else."

He talked about plans to bomb a South Tampa bar and shoot first responders, the report said. He showed the agent some planned targets, saying he had seen videos of preachers who "insulted God and the Prophet" while working near nightclubs on busy nights.

Osmakac planned to take hostages to exchange for imprisoned jihadist leaders, the report said. He vowed to shoot a hostage every 30 minutes unless the jihadists were released.

In the report, Kohlmann concludes Osmakac fits some of the characteristics of a "homegrown terrorist." The new defense motion argues the charges against Osmakac don't allege he was a terrorist. The prosecution has enough evidence with undercover recordings and witnesses "to prove the crime without the necessity of this 'smear campaign'," it said.

Kohlmann has been an expert prosecution witness in several terrorism trials and has "made his living as an expert witness for hire," drawing criticism that he "sees danger everywhere he looks," according to a 2010 profile in New York Magazine.

Osmakac, 27, a Kosovo native and naturalized U.S. citizen from Pinellas Park, was charged in January 2012 with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The investigation began in 2011 when an informer told the FBI that Osmakac had been shopping for flags representing al-Qaida. The informer introduced Osmakac to an undercover FBI agent posing as someone who could provide weapons.

Keeley Sheehan can be reached at ksheehan@tampabay.com.

New details emerge in case of alleged plot to destroy Tampa Bay bridges, attack sheriff's facility 03/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle