It's been a busy day for U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer and George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and a bummer of a day for South Florida ISIS sympathizers.
The same day Ferrer and Piro took part in the announcement of the arrest of Harlem Suarez, a Key West man who plotted to blow up a public beach, they also announced that Miami man Miguel Moran Diaz, an ISIS sympathizer, was found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of illegally possessing firearms.
Diaz, 45, was arrested this past April. He came onto investigators' radar as a “lone wolf” self-proclaimed member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS) and had been posting pro-ISIS statements on Facebook under the name Azizi
Diaz had supported himself by working as an Uber driver and also drove shuttles and worked in construction. (Uber made no comment on Diaz's arrest at the time.)
According to the feds, however, he dreamed of acting as a sniper operative for the terrorist organization and planned to kill people in Miami.
An undercover FBI source met with Diaz and told him that he could supply him with guns and ammunition.
Diaz had previously spent time in jail in 2005 on drug charges. As a felon, Diaz could not purchase guns himself, though he had already amassed some firearms before coming into contact with the source. He requested a "baby Glock" and other guns and ammunition and said he would pay the source $500 in return. He later seemed interested in buying more ammunition.
“Diaz stated that after killing people, authorities would find the ISIS-engraved shell casings and then know there was a sniper in town," the original criminal complaint read. Diaz also claimed he was learning how to make bombs.
“Miguel Moran Diaz was an armed, convicted felon who harbored sympathies for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Piro said in a statement. “He called himself a ‘Lone Wolf’ for ‘ISIS.’ This is not a scenario where law enforcement can afford to wait and see what happens next. The FBI and our partners in the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated and disrupted this threat to South Florida.”
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He was arrested April 2 while driving, and investigators found him in possession of a .40-caliber handgun and 30 rounds of ammunition. After searching his Miami apartment, they also found a Kel-Tec 2000 .40-caliber rifle and about 200 to 300 rounds of ammunition.
But Diaz was not ultimately tried on any specific terrorism-related charges. He did, however, plead guilty to charges of possession of a firearm by a felon. He'll serve the maximum sentence of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
"The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to using our law enforcement resources in order to disrupt potential terroristic plots and prosecute those individuals who seek to jeopardize our security,” Ferrer said. “Individuals who unlawfully possess firearms and advocate for violent extremism will continue to be identified, prosecuted, and brought to justice under the federal sentencing guidelines.”