Published: Jan 09, 2012 5:35 PM EST
Updated: Jan 10, 2012 12:18 AM EST

TAMPA- A 25-year-old resident of Pinellas Park, Fla., has been charged in connection with an alleged plot to attack locations in Tampa with a vehicle bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, according to the Department of Justice.

Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the former Yugoslavia, was arrested Saturday night. He is charged with one count of attempted use of explosives and is scheduled to make his initial appearance Monday at 2:00 p.m. in federal court in Tampa. If convicted, Osmakac faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The arrest of Osmakac was the culmination of an undercover operation during which Osmakac was closely monitored by law enforcement officials for several months. The explosives and firearms that he allegedly sought and attempted to use were rendered inoperable by law enforcement and posed no threat to the public.

According to the complaint affidavit, in September 2011, the FBI received information from a Confidential Human Source indicating that Osmakac had asked for al-Qaeda flags. In November 2011, Osmakac and the CHS discussed and identified potential targets, in Tampa, where Osmakac intended on carrying out violent attacks. Osmakac allegedly asked the CHS for help in obtaining firearms and explosives for the attacks. The CHS indicated that he/she knew someone who might be able to provide firearms and explosives and introduced Osmakac to an undercover FBI employee.

The complaint alleges that Osmakac met with the undercover FBI employee, in person, on December 21, 2011, and stated that he wanted to acquire an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and an explosive belt. In another meeting, Osmakac allegedly provided the undercover FBI employee with a $500 down payment for an AK-47, multiple homemade explosive grenades and the explosive belt.

According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested. The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people.

During a later meeting with the FBI undercover employee on January 1, 2012, Osmakac allegedly described his attack plans by stating that he wanted to obtain a hotel room, park the vehicle with the bomb in it at his target, leave the area, detonate the car bomb, and then retrieve the weapons and explosives from the hotel room. Among Osmakac’s alleged bomb targets were night clubs in the Ybor City area of Tampa, the Operations Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Ybor City, and a business in the South Tampa area of Tampa, Florida.

Reportedly, as part of the second portion of his planned attack, Osmakac told the undercover FBI employee that, after the car bomb was detonated, he wanted to use the explosive belt to “get in somewhere where there’s a lot of people” and take hostages. He allegedly stated that he would then make demands of the FBI to release some prisoners. According to the criminal complaint, when discussing law enforcement officers that might respond to the scene, Osmakac allegedly stated, “once I have this . . . they can take me in five million pieces” in an apparent reference to the explosive belt that would be attached to his waist.

During the January 1st meeting, the undercover FBI employee noted that Osmakac could change his mind and back out of the plot. According to the complaint, Osmakac immediately shook his head in the negative and stated, “We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?”

On January 7, 2012, FBI agents arrested Osmakac after he took possession of the explosive devices and firearms, that had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement. The complaint alleges that, shortly prior to his arrest, Osmakac made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned violent attack.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are simply allegations. As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.