Miami resident Miguel Morán Díaz was arrested after federal agents learned he told an FBI informant that he sympathized with the Middle East terrorist group ISIS and wanted to buy weapons to shoot people, according to federal court documents.
Díaz, 46, also told the informant that with a sniper rifle, a shooter could cause chaos in a city, according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI special agent.
Though Díaz maintained a Facebook page in which he kept ISIS web postings, and identified himself as Azizi al Hariri, the complaint does not contain any evidence that the suspect was directly tied to the group.
In fact, the complaint quotes the informant as saying that Díaz referred to himself as a “Lone Wolf.” The term refers to sympathizers who would be willing to mount armed attacks on their own against civilians or security forces in their countries.
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When Díaz was indicted, he was charged with violating the law that prohibits him from possessing a gun since he is a convicted felon. No terror connections were cited.
The FBI declined comment on the case. Díaz’s attorney did not return a call to his office.
In late January, FBI agents launched an investigation into Díaz’s activities when they discovered a Facebook page in which he called himself Azizi al Hariri. The page is no longer available.
“A review of Díaz’s Facebook page revealed numerous postings of ISIS-related articles as well as a recent posting showing Díaz posing with a firearm,” the criminal complaint said.
An FBI informant arranged to meet with Díaz at a restaurant in Broward, the complaint said.
At this meeting, the complaint said, Díaz admitted to the informant that he could not possess a weapon because he had previously been convicted on drug-related charges. He asked the informant if he could buy a “baby Glock” for him. In fact, the complaint said, Díaz then proposed a plan to the informant: he could buy several weapons for Díaz and then Díaz would arrange for the weapons to be stolen from the informant’s car. In exchange, Díaz would pay the informant $500.
Díaz also told the informant he already had “multiple weapons” including a rifle he used for hunting in the Everglades and another with a collapsible stock that he could hide in a backpack and carry it into a stadium undetected, the complaint said.
On Jan. 28, FBI agents conducted a surveillance operation outside Díaz’s apartment building along the 1600 block of NW 14th Street. Díaz’s white Chevrolet was parked outside on the street, the criminal complaint said.
During a subsequent conversation with the informant, Díaz described himself as a “Lone Wolf” for ISIS, according to the criminal complaint.
“Díaz went on to show the [informant] a design of a wolf head he had created to symbolize the lone wolf,” the complaint said. It added that Díaz mentioned the possibility of engraving the word ISIS into bullet casings.
“Díaz stated that after killing people, authorities would find the ISIS engraved shell casings and then know there was a sniper in town,” the complaint said. “Díaz continued to state that a sniper could disrupt a city for a week or two until being caught.”
The informant asked Díaz if he was worried that his live-in girlfriend would call the police on him, the complaint said. Díaz replied that he was not.
“On one occasion, while arguing with his girlfriend, she threatened to call 911,” the complaint said. “Díaz also stated that he threatened to kill her if she called 911.”
No one answered the door at Díaz’s apartment. A woman who lives across the hall said she knew him, but that he never mentioned any sympathies for ISIS to her.
“We just said hello to each other in the hall,” said the woman, who declined to provide her name. “He was polite and seemed like a decent man.”
On April 2, a federal magistrate issued search warrants for Díaz’s apartment and vehicle. Subsequently, FBI agents detained Díaz in his vehicle and found several weapons and rounds of ammunition on him. Shortly afterward, agents raided his apartment and found additional weapons and ammunition.
Díaz was indicted April 16 and was ordered held in detention pending trial because he is deemed a flight risk and a danger to the community, according to court records. Trial has been tentatively scheduled for June.
Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter @AlfonsoChardy