Broward County

Cuban migrant who expressed support for ISIS faces sentence in federal court

Apartment at 1629 NW 14 St. where Miguel Morán Díaz lived.
Apartment at 1629 NW 14 St. where Miguel Morán Díaz lived. el Nuevo Herald

Miguel Morán Díaz, a Cuban migrant arrested in Miami after expressing sympathies for the terror group ISIS, will be sentenced July 27 in federal court.

The sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard will close a chapter in a case that drew international media attention after the one-time Uber driver was arrested April 30 pursuant to an FBI criminal complaint.

The case began in late January when FBI agents opened an investigation when they discovered a Facebook page in which Díaz called himself Azizi al Hariri, according to the criminal complaint.

“A review of Díaz’s Facebook page revealed numerous posting of ISIS-related articles as well as a recent posting showing Díaz posing with a firearm,” the complaint said. It also said Díaz had told an informant that a sniper could sow chaos in a city until caught.

Though the FBI complaint focused on Díaz’s ISIS leanings, he was never linked to a terrorism charge. He pleaded guilty May 27 to illegally possessing a firearm as a felon convicted in 2005 of cocaine possession.

Díaz, 46, has been in detention since his arrest because he was denied bond.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley wrote in the order that Díaz could not go free because he was a danger to the community.

McAliley cited 12 reasons why Díaz should stay in detention pending trial including his interest in ISIS, his possession of a sophisticated rifle with a collapsible stock that could be smuggled into a stadium, his interest in buying more weapons, and the fact he had actually conducted surveillance on a Homeland Security building in Miramar as a possible target for a “possible terrorist attack.”

McAliley also repeated information contained in the original criminal complaint in which Díaz described himself as a “lone wolf” for ISIS and that he had threatened to kill his girlfriend if she ever called 911 to report his weapons.

The magistrate also noted that Díaz had “no significant assets or ties to the community,” and that as a Cuban immigrant who has not become a citizen and was convicted of of a previous crime he was subject to deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after he finishes serving his sentence.

“ICE has placed a detainer with the U.S. Marshal’s seeking custody of the defendant once he is released from criminal custody,” McAliley wrote.

McAliley also noted that Díaz’s mother lives in Cuba and that the defendant had indicated at one point that if arrested and freed he would flee.

“The government proffered that the defendant said in a recorded statement that should he be arrested he would never go back to present himself to [immigration authorities] and that they would ‘gotta come and get me.’”

McAliley also cited evidence of Díaz’s lack of ties to the community or any significant job.

“Last month the defendant began self-employment as an Uber driver, before that he worked in construction, and as a shuttle driver, all earning modest wages,” wrote McAliley. “He has no significant assets or ties to the community and lives with his girlfriend in her government-assisted apartment.”

Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter @AlfonsoChardy