A Maple Heights man pleaded guilty to crimes related to his plot to launch a terrorist attack in Cleveland on Independence Day.
Assistant Attorney General of National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith for the FBI Cleveland Field Office made the announcement on Tuesday.
Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, aka Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, aka Salah ad-Deen Osama Waleed, 50, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, threats against the President of the United States and threats against family members of the President of the United States.
(The FBI has arrested a Cleveland-area man in connection to a Fourth of July terror plot. Demetrius Pitts faces charges after he communicated with an undercover agent. Pitts expressed his intent to assist al Qaeda to carry out a large-scale attack in the U.S., authorities said. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Jul 2, 2018.)
According to an affidavit filed in the case, between 2015 and 2017, Pitts expressed anti-American sentiments and expressed a desire to recruit people to kill Americans.
The defendant expressed a desire to meet with an al Qaeda “brother” and in June he was introduced to an FBI employee acting in an undercover capacity (UCE), who Pitts believed was such a “brother.”
Pitts and the UCE met in Walton Hills, Ohio, in 2018, where they discussed launching an attack for al Qaeda during the July 4th holiday.
Pitts said: “I’m trying to figure out something that would shake them up on the 4th of July.”
He later stated: “What would hit them at their core? Blow up in the, have a bomb blow up in the 4th of July parade.”
Pitts searched Google for a map of downtown Cleveland. After learning the fireworks would be launched from Voinovich Park, Pitts said: “Oh there you go. Oh yeah.”
He was also pleased the park was near the U.S. Coast Guard station, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Celebrezze Federal Building.
(48-year old Demetrius Pitts, a former Greater Cincinnati resident, is charged with attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization, specifically al Qaeda. Courtesy of LOCAL 12 and YouTUbe. Posted on Jul 9, 2018.)