Man charged in car bomb plot
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The FBI arrested a California man on Friday after he tried to set off what he thought was a car bomb outside a bank, capping a months-long undercover sting operation, federal authorities said.
Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Federal agents arrested Llaneza in the early morning hours as he attempted to use a cellphone to detonate a bomb inside a sport utility vehicle parked at a Bank of America branch in Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Llaneza’s stated goal was to trigger a governmental crackdown, which he expected would trigger a right-wing counter-response against the government followed by, he hoped, civil war,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
Llaneza met in November with a man he believed was linked to the Taleban and other militants in Afghanistan, but who was in fact an undercover FBI agent, according to the affidavit.