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Bomb talk suspect to plead to immigration charge

July 22, 2014

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) — A Moroccan man in the U.S. who authorities say expressed interest in using remote-controlled toy airplanes to bomb a school and a federal building is expected to plead guilty to an immigration charge.

El Mehdi Semlali Fathi, 27, is expected to enter a plea to perjury Thursday, federal public defender Paul Thomas told The Associated Press. Thomas declined further comment Tuesday.

Authorities say Fahti was in the U.S. for seven years after his student visa expired after he flunked out of Virginia International University. Fathi was facing deportation to Morocco and made false statements while seeking political asylum in the U.S., officials say. He falsely claimed he was repeatedly arrested by the Moroccan government and assaulted by government officials, according to an FBI affidavit.

The affidavit also says Fathi spoke on recorded conversations about a desire to bomb a federal building in Connecticut and a school outside the state. The affidavit does not specify the potential targets.

In the conversations, Fathi spoke in Arabic and said he would use toy airplanes to deliver the bombs and he had been studying the operation for months, according to the FBI. He allegedly said the money would come from laundered money and drug-dealing profits.

Fathi was arrested in April on immigration-related charges, including making a false statement, falsely swearing under oath and falsifying declarations to a federal immigration judge.

He is currently detained without bail. The FBI affidavit says he is still under investigation.

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