A California man was sentenced Monday to more than 19 years in prison after authorities found two improvised explosive devices in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
Saleh Ali, 48, of Salinas, was stopped in 2018 in Orange County for an expired car registration. Police found he was driving with a suspended license and started searching the vehicle when they found the two bombs, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Authorities learned he had a criminal history that included convictions in New Jersey in 2003 for making terrorist threats and aggravated assault.
In 2013, he threw a glass jar with acid at a hotel manager in Nepal causing him to go blind in one eye and lose 50 percent of sight in his other eye, for which he served two years in prison, prosecutors said.
It was not clear what Ali intended to do with the bombs. He was convicted earlier this month.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the case shows how potential attacks can be thwarted by law enforcement.
“I absolutely believe he was acting as a wannabe terrorist, and his entire criminal history shows he is a very, very dangerous person,” Spitzer told reporters.
Ali represented himself in court.