Crime

Miami man who professed alliance with ISIS pleads guilty to illegal arms possession

This is the building at 1629 NW 14th St. where police arrested Miguel Morán Díaz. Díaz, who professed an alliance with ISIS, plead guilty to illegal arms possession.
This is the building at 1629 NW 14th St. where police arrested Miguel Morán Díaz. Díaz, who professed an alliance with ISIS, plead guilty to illegal arms possession. El Nuevo Herald

A Miami resident who allegedly expressed a willingness to act as an urban sniper and kill civilians for the Islamic State terror group, has pleaded guilty to illegal arms possession.

Miguel Morán Díaz, 46, appeared before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard last week and changed his plea to guilty of the gun charges.

Nowhere in the guilty plea agreement nor related court documents is Díaz linked to his sympathies for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. The only reference is to charges in a case indictment in which Díaz was not supposed to possess any weapons because he is a convicted felon.

The guilty plea closes a chapter in a case that drew national headlines when it first emerged in Miami federal court documents in early April. The final chapter will be written in July when Díaz is scheduled to be sentenced, according to court documents.

The case began in late January when FBI agents launched an investigation into Díaz’s activities when they discovered a Facebook page in which he called himself Azizi al Hariri, according to a criminal complaint. 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 the meeting, the complaint said, Díaz 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.

During a subsequent conversation with the informant, Díaz described himself as a “Lone Wolf” for ISIS, according to the criminal complaint.

“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.”

None of these claims were contained in the final plea agreement published in the court docket for the case. And there was no explanation from the authorities why Díaz’s ISIS sympathies did not figure in the agreement.

An FBI spokesman in Miami said he could not comment on the matter.

In the indictment against Díaz, the maximum penalty was listed as 10 years in prison, plus three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Follow Alfonso Chardy on Twitter @AlfonsoChardy.

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