Miami Man, Said to Be Inspired by Terrorists, Accused of Planning to Bomb Shopping Center

MIAMI (Miami Herald/TNS) -

A Miami man suspected of being inspired by Islamic terrorists was arrested Friday by FBI counterterrorism agents in an undercover operation, on a charge of attempting to blow up a bomb at a shopping mall.

Vicente Solano was communicating with a confidential informant who tipped off the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force about his alleged plot to carry out an attack in the Dolphin Mall in Doral, authorities said.

Before the planned bombing, Solano made pro-Islamic State videos, authorities said. But there is no indication he was directed by Islamic State.

When he was arrested, Solano planned to detonate the bomb, which was a fake he acquired from FBI undercover agents — a strategy deployed in previous counterterrorism investigations in South Florida.

Solano will appear in Miami federal court Monday, when a criminal complaint and affidavit will be filed that charge him with attempting to blow up a weapon of mass destruction.

FBI agents rely on confidential informants to bring them suspicious information, so they can engage a suspect planning a bombing and thwart the plan before it happens. Informants routinely work with undercover agents while recording conversations with the suspect.