Attorney says Harlem Suarez 'very immature' for age, has 'low intellect'

Bond hearing postponed for Key West man accused of plotting to detonate backpack bomb

MIAMI – A bond hearing has been postponed for a Key West man described by the FBI as an ISIS sympathizer who plotted to detonate a backpack bomb at a beach.

Harlem Suarez, 23, is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was arrested last Tuesday.

Defense attorney Richard Della Fera said Monday that he asked for the delay so he could review U.S. government surveillance of his client.

"What I've observed is a young man who is very immature for his age, has a very low intellect, and I think that that plays into what happened to him," Della Fera told Local 10 News after his client's brief court appearance.

According to a criminal complaint, Suarez, who is also known as Almlak Benitez, caught the attention of the FBI in April after posting extremist rhetoric and promoting the Islamic State group through posts on his Facebook page.

One post read: "Stand up with us my brother. Stand up with the black flag and the AK with 10 mag, fight with us, be a gangster with us, kill our enemies and convert to Islam now in USA."

The complaint said Suarez later told an FBI informant that he wanted to make a "timer bomb."

READ: Full complaint

The FBI said Suarez purchased items for the bomb, which contained galvanized nails. He intended to place the bomb in a backpack and detonate it using a cellphone, the complaint said.

Investigators said Suarez planned to bury the bomb at a public beach in Key West and detonate it. He met with an informant last week at a Homestead hotel and showed him the homemade bomb, the complaint said.

"He was asked by the undercover agents that were conducting the sting to get the nails," Della Fera said, indicating a potential entrapment defense.

According to the complaint, Suarez told FBI informants that he was making an ISIS recruiting video before the attack.

The complaint said Suarez had planned other attacks before deciding on bombing a Key West beach, including a Fourth of July attack in South Beach or in Marathon.

Suarez remains in jail until at least Aug. 11, when his next hearing is scheduled. He faces life in prison if convicted.

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