Sentencing Day For Key West Terrorist

Key West Terrorist Could Face Life In Prison At Tuesday’s Hearing

A hearing will take place Tuesday afternoon for the 25-year-old convicted this year of plotting to blow up a Florida Keys beach.

Harlem Sanchez was planning to pledge his allegiance to the Islamic State with the blast and is now facing life in federal prison.

“A sentence of life imprisonment is entirely fair, just and reasonable given the nature and circumstances surrounding the offenses of conviction,” according to the latest motion filed Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, reported the Miami Herald.

Suarez’s hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. in front of Judge Jose Martinez at the Key West courthouse on Simonton Street.

Suarez had already obtained a collection of weapons, including two Glock handguns, an AR-15 rifle, multiple magazines and tactical gear, before speaking with undercover authorities he believed to be ISIS sympathizers.

“The government was extremely fortunate in this case that they were able to ferret out the defendant’s true intentions and monitor his every move to ensure that the defendant’s plans were not surreptitiously carried out on innocent civilians,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton to the Herald.

According to prosecutors, Suarez had got his hands on a bomb and had stated he would plant it on the beach and set it off when unsuspecting beach-goers were present. But Suarez’s defense countered that argument, saying he wasn’t sharp enough to execute such a plan.

“He was easy prey for the informants who appealed to his ego and his need for validation,” the defense wrote in an April 1 motion pleading for a sentence of years rather than life.”

“As a person with no history of aggression, it is submitted that defendant would not have had the ‘guts’ to blow up a bomb in an area where people might have been harmed,” attorney Richard Della Fera wrote to the Herald.

His attorney also stated that Suarez was persuaded by government informants to purchase the bomb, and is naive and gullible. The Stock Island man born to Cuban immigrants has no criminal history leading up to this case.

Della Fera didn’t lead the Herald to believe he had a suggested sentencing range, but he did list several cases where people convicted of plotting violent attacks got 12 years of punishment.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.