Harlem Suarez

Harlem Suarez is a naturalized U.S. citizen, long-time Florida resident, and convicted homegrown conspirator.Gwen Filosa, “Keys terror suspect convicted of trying to bomb beach and of backing ISIS,” Miami Herald, January 31, 2017, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article129835479.html. According to authorities, Suarez is a self-described “jihadist” who supported ISIS and plotted to use a weapon of mass destruction in the United States.United States of America v. Harlem Suarez a/k/a Almlak Benitez, Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint  (S.D. FL, 2015), 1, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/file/641126/download.> He was arrested in July 2015 at the end of a three-month-long FBI investigation, during which he revealed to undercover agents his desire to learn how to build an explosive.United States of America v. Harlem Suarez a/k/a Almlak Benitez, Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint  (S.D. FL, 2015), 2, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/file/641126/download. He was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and convicted in January 2017 with an additional charge of providing material support to ISIS.“Monroe County Resident Charged with Attempting to Use Weapon of Mass Destruction,” Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida, July 28, 2015, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/monroe-county-resident-charged-attempting-use-weapon-mass-destruction;
Associated Press, “Key West man pleads not guilty to beach backpack bomb plot,” CBS News, August 11, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/key-west-man-pleads-not-guilty-to-beach-backpack-bomb-plot-florida/;
Gwen Filosa, “Keys terror suspect convicted of trying to bomb beach and of backing ISIS,” Miami Herald, January 31, 2017, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article129835479.html.
In April 2017, Suarez was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.Gwen Filosa, “Keys bomb plotter Suarez gets life in prison,” Miami Herald, April 18, 2017, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article145265609.html.

An undercover FBI agent contacted and began meeting with Suarez in April 2015 after receiving a tip from one of Suarez’s acquaintances. Suarez had been posting violent, pro-ISIS content on Facebook under the name “Almlak Benitez.” During meetings with the informant, Suarez revealed his intention to execute a violent attack on U.S. soil on behalf of ISIS. According to court documents, Suarez legally purchased an AK-47 on the Internet, and conspired to plant a timer bomb on the beaches of Florida that could be detonated remotely. Suarez was arrested and detained in July 2015 during the planning stage of the attack.Associated Press, “Harlem Suarez: Suspected Islamic state sympathizer enters not guilty plea,” WPTV, August 11, 2015, http://www.wptv.com/news/state/harlem-suarez-suspected-islamic-state-sympathizer-enters-not-guilty-plea. He was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.“Monroe County Resident Charged with Attempting to Use Weapon of Mass Destruction,” Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida, July 28, 2015, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/monroe-county-resident-charged-attempting-use-weapon-mass-destruction.

Suarez pled guilty in August 2015 and was convicted in January 2017 following a seven-day trial.Associated Press, “Key West man pleads not guilty to beach backpack bomb plot,” CBS News, August 11, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/key-west-man-pleads-not-guilty-to-beach-backpack-bomb-plot-florida/;
Gwen Filosa, “Keys terror suspect convicted of trying to bomb beach and of backing ISIS,” Miami Herald, January 31, 2017, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article129835479.html.

On April 18, 2017, Suarez was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and an additional 20 years for providing material support to ISIS.Gwen Fiolsa, “Keys Bomb Plotter Suarez Gets Life in Prison,” Miami Herald, April 18, 2017, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article145265609.html. He is currently incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Lee, in Virginia.“HARLEM SUAREZ,” Find an Inmate – Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed April 7, 2021, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.

Return to Full Database

Take action:

Help Counter Extremism

Stay updated on the latest

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 28, 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked farmers as they worked in the rice fields of Koshebe near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Abubakar Shekau confirmed his faction was responsible for the massacre of 110 civilians.   

View Archive

CEP on Twitter