A Florida man has been charged with attempting to damage a Jewish synagogue in addition to his previous indictment of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against a person or property.
The new charge was filed against James Gonzalo Medina, 40, of Hollywood, Florida, on June 30 following an initial charge on May 2 of targeting the Aventura-Turnberry Jewish Center in Aventura, Florida.
If convicted, Medina faces life imprisonment.
His arrest was made through an undercover operation of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
Medina is accused of attempting to use an explosive device to destroy the synagogue.
Last March, Medina became the subject of surveillance by the FBI due to his conversations about attacking the Jewish centre.
Using confidential human source, the FBI was able to determine Medina’s plan where he expressed anti-Semitic views and identified the synagogue as his target.
The complaint said Medina wanted to use an explosive device to commit the attack. Medina allegedly studied the synagogue property to assess how he would carry out the attack.
Last April 29, Medina was caught in possession of an explosive device and was arrested while approaching the centre.
During his court appearance last May, the suspect told U.S. magistrate Judge William Turnoff, “I’ve got a few words of my own. … My name is James Medina, also known as James Muhammad,” according to the Sun Sentinel.
Prosecutor Marc Anton told the court that Medina had “interest in conducting an attack” on the synagogue by “obtaining a bomb he could either place under a car or throw it over the wall.”
Medina told investigators that he converted to Islam about four years and that he wanted the attack to look like it was done by the Islamic State or ISIS.
The suspect also told acquaintances that he wanted to make himself a “martyr” though the attack.
Medina also recorded videos to say goodbye to his family and make threats.
“I am a Muslim and I don’t like what is going on in this world. I’m going to handle business here in America. Aventura, watch your back. ISIS is in the house,” the agents quoted Medina as saying in one video.