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Man charged in bomb-making stings to be jailed until trial

December 20, 2018
This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows Ahmad Suhad Ahmad, who was ordered to remain in jail until his trial on federal charges for allegedly showing undercover federal agents how to make explosive devices in two sting operations during 2017. Ahmad has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He previously served time in state prison on drug convictions. (Arizona Department of Corrections via AP, file)

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has ruled an Arizona man charged with showing undercover federal agents how to make explosive devices in two sting operations during 2017 will remain jailed until trial because he poses a danger to the community.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Raner Collins marks the second time within the last six weeks that a court has refused to release Ahmad Suhad Ahmad, 30, from custody. Collins also noted that Ahmad had violated his probation in an earlier drug case.

Prosecutors had contended Ahmad should remain jailed because he showed undercover agents how to construct explosive devices and believed they would be used to kill people in public places. Ahmad’s attorney had argued his client should be released because he doesn’t pose a danger to the community, had undergone a religious awakening while in prison and has been sober for more than 18 months.

In addition to facing federal drug charges, Ahmad is accused of showing undercover agents on two occasions in 2017 how to construct explosive devices.

Ahmad has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin and distributing information relating to explosives. His trial is scheduled for March 19.

Authorities say Ahmad, a native of Iraq who became a U.S. citizen in 2013, told a confidential source in late 2016 that he had learned how to detonate explosives using cellphones during the war in Iraq.

Three months later, the confidential source asked Ahmad how to make a car bomb that would be used against a high-ranking figure in a Mexican drug trafficking organization at a sporting event in the United States, and Ahmad agreed to help, authorities said in court records.

Ahmad later emailed the confidential source homemade bomb instructions that were written in Arabic and listed some of the materials that were needed to build an explosive device, authorities said.

Finally, investigators say Ahmad, the confidential source and two undercover FBI agents traveled from Tucson in late April 2017 to a condominium in Las Vegas where Ahmad, over several hours, made two bombs and showed one of the agents how to connect blasting caps and where to place C-4 plastic explosives.

Ahmad brought a circuit tester, electrical tape and epoxy to the meeting, while the undercover agents provided other materials for making a bomb, investigators said in court documents.

Six weeks later, authorities said Ahmad met with confidential sources and undercover agents at a Tucson hotel where Admad explained in detail how to construct an explosive device using a laptop.

Ahmad believed the laptop bomb would be used to kill a member of a criminal group to which the undercover agents supposedly belonged. He also agreed to travel to Miami, Florida, to build such a bomb, prosecutors said in court records.

Ahmad was released from state prison in late September after serving sentences for drug convictions.

He was initially given probation in one of those drug cases, but he was later sent to prison after he was convicted in another drug case and found to have violated his probation in the first case.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at www.twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud.

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