A man who plotted to storm a Seattle military recruitment center with machine guns and grenades in retaliation for U.S. military conduct in Afghanistan was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Monday.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.
Passing sentence in District Court in Seattle, Judge James Robart also gave Abdul-Latif 10 years of supervised release. Under the terms of his plea deal with U.S. prosecutors, he faced a sentence of up to 17 to 19 years in prison.
Abdul-Latif's co-defendant, Walli Mujahidh, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to conspiracy and weapons charges and is awaiting sentencing.
The pair, both U.S. citizens, were arrested in June 2011 and indicted the following month on charges of conspiring to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station, where enlistees are screened and processed, south of downtown Seattle.
In his plea agreement in December, Abdul-Latif admitted that he agreed to carry out the planned attack and made plans for Mujahidh to travel to Seattle from Los Angeles to take part in the assault.
The plot came to light after a person who had known Abdul-Latif for several years and had been asked to supply weapons for the planned attack went to police instead, becoming a paid undercover informant, according to court documents.
The informant told authorities that Mujahidh suggested storming the recruitment station "with machine guns and grenades and killing everyone there," the U.S. prosecutor's office said.
In a "sting" operation, high-powered assault rifles that had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement agents were brought by the informant to the two suspects, who were arrested when they took possession of the guns, prosecutors said.
According to an FBI affidavit, Abdul-Latif told the informant that the planned attack was in retaliation for what he said were crimes by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Abdul-Latif also mentioned a 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in which an Army psychiatrist is accused of killing 13 people, noting that "if one person could kill so many, three attackers could kill many more," the informant told authorities, according to the original criminal complaint.