Omar Mateen, the gunman who slaughtered at least 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning, was enrolled in an Islamic seminary run by an ex-con released from prison last year, a law enforcement source told Fox News.
Marcus Dwayne Robertson, aka Abu Taubah, was a gang leader and bank robber before becoming a radical imam — and is a particularly effective terrorist recruiter, according to the source who is familiar with Robertson’s history of inciting violence. “It is no coincidence that this happened in Orlando,” he said. “Mateen was enrolled in [Robertson’s online] Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary.” Robertson and several of his associates were rounded up for questioning early Sunday, according to Fox’s law enforcement sources, although police have not confirmed this.
FoxNews.com has reported extensively on Robertson, a former U.S. Marine who served as a bodyguard to the Blind Sheik involved in the 1993 World Trade Center Attack and led a gang of New York bank robbers called “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” before resurfacing in Orlando, where he started an Islamic seminary.
The school, recently renamed the Timbuktu Seminary, is operated by Robertson, a 47-year-old firebrand known to his thousands of followers as Abu Taubah.
Robertson, who recently spent four years in prison in Florida on illegal weapons and tax fraud charges before being released by a Florida judge one year ago, has openly and enthusiastically preached against homosexuality. The targets of Mateen’s bloody rampage were members of the gay community of Orlando, 120 miles from the 29-year-old’s home in Fort Pierce.
Prosecutors said wiretaps from 2011 proved Robertson instructed one of his students, Jonathan Paul Jimenez, to file false tax returns to obtain a tax refund to pay for travel to Mauritania for terror training.
Jimenez studied with Robertson for a year in preparation for his travel to Mauritania, where he would study and further his training in killing, suicide bombing, and identifying and murdering U.S. military personnel. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to lying to authorities and conspiring to defraud the IRS and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Robertson was arrested on a firearms charge in 2011 and pleaded guilty in January 2012. On March 14, 2012, federal authorities charged him with conspiring to defraud the IRS, which he was convicted of in December 2013.
While in the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County, Robertson was considered so dangerous, he was kept in shackles and assigned his own guards. Whenever he was transported to court, a seven-car caravan of armed federal marshals escorted him. He was initially moved into solitary confinement after prison authorities believed he was radicalizing up to 36 of his fellow prisoners.
In seeking enhanced terrorism charges during sentencing for the two crimes, prosecutors said Robertson has been involved with terrorism activities, “…focused on training others to commit violent acts as opposed to committing them himself” … “overseas instead of inside the United States.”
Jimenez, the terror recruit who is currently serving a ten-year sentence, told a government informant that he wanted to become a terrorist and claimed Robertson was training him to be a terrorist. But Roberson argued in court that he was just trying to help “the troubled Jiminez” through “religious training.” A Clinton-appointed judge actually found Roberson’s argument to be more persuasive than the prosecutors’ case against him, which he found to be “woefully inadequate.” Rather than tack on another 10 years to his sentence under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as federal prosecutors wanted, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell freed Robertson in June 2015 with time served.
Here is a report via WFTV Orlando from last summer on Robertson’s release:
Judge Presnell ignored warnings from federal prosecutors that Robertson was very good at recruiting terrorists and at inciting violence, and sadly, what happened in Orlando last weekend could be a result of that lack of vigilance.