The FBI Cleveland Field Office just held a press conference detailing the arrest of Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts aka Abdur Raheem Rafeeq on Sunday morning for planning a possible terror attack during Independence Day celebrations later this week. Among the sites Pitts scouted were Voinovich Park and the U.S. Coast Guard station.
According to the FBI, the investigation into Pitts began last year after a tip indicated that he was making extremist statements and expressing support for Al-Qaeda. The case was originally overseen by the FBI office in Cincinnati, where Pitts resided at the time, and then transferred when he moved to Cleveland this past May.
Pitts, a convicted violent felon, had expressed his intent to conduct U.S.-based terror attacks and his support for Al-Qaeda.
During a meeting last week with an undercover FBI agent, Pitts suggested bombing the July 4th parade, and then later scouted potential attack sites. The FBI states he intended to park a van with explosives downtown. He also discussed giving remote controlled cars filled with explosives to children of military personnel and a possible attack in Philadelphia, where he used to live.
Pitts is set to appear before a federal magistrate judge later today for attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
As I reported here at PJ Media, Ohio has already seen one ISIS-inspired terror attack at the Ohio State University in November 2016, when Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove into a crowd of students on campus, injuring nearly a dozen pedestrians, and then attempted to stab other victims.
Artan was shot and killed by campus police. A note he posted to Facebook immediately before the attack recorded his pledge of allegiance to ISIS, expressed his support for Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and warned that so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks would continue until the U.S. made peace with ISIS.
I also reported on a Columbus-area husband and wife, along with her younger brother, who traveled to Syria and joined ISIS. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) May 16, 2016
There have also been a long string of ISIS-related arrests in the Buckeye State in recent years:
— ABC News (@ABC) December 6, 2016
BREAKING: Ohio man charged for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. This is happening more and more… pic.twitter.com/xbhKKjVtHl
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) May 11, 2017
Ohio Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Providing Support to ISIS, Being a Felon in Possession of Firearms https://t.co/r9rycuPdsN
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) June 20, 2018
Ohio Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Soliciting Murder of U.S. Military Members https://t.co/c1RxDvGvZU
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) August 2, 2017