Antonio Martinez was detained Wednesday on charges of attempted murder of federal officials and employees, and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction against federal property.
Martinez, a Muslim convert known as Muhammad Hussain, made an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon.
The U.S. Justice Department says the public was never in any danger, as the plot was part of a sting operation and the bomb was fake. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland says the 21-year-old American had been carefully monitored by law enforcement for months after someone reported he had posted messages on the social networking site Facebook that were a cause for concern.
Officials say Martinez tried to detonate the vehicle bomb at a U.S. Armed Forces recruitment center in the town of Catonsville near the city of Baltimore.
In another sting operation last month, authorities in the western state of Oregon arrested a 19-year-old Somali-born man on charges of trying to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, after months of tracking the suspect. Federal agents also supplied that fake bomb.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.