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Arizona man accused of terrorism changes his plea to guilty

October 10, 2016 - 4:01 PM

PHOENIX - A Tucson man accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix has agreed to a plea deal and is facing at least seven years in an Arizona prison, authorities said Monday.

Mahin Khan pleaded guilty to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons, Maricopa County Superior Court officials said.

Khan, 18, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4.

Under a plea deal with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Khan reportedly will serve a prison term of no less than five years and no more than 10 years and three months on the conspiracy to commit terrorism charge.

He will serve an additional two years in prison for the charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons. On the terrorism charge, authorities said Khan will be on probation after his prison term and will have to surrender his passport, be subject to mental health exams and have internet restrictions.

Khan was arrested on July 1 at his parents' home in Tucson. He pleaded not guilty to the three felony charges and was being held without bond until his trial.

Khan wanted to attack a motor vehicle office in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa and allegedly instructed an undercover FBI employee to start building homemade grenades, authorities said.

They said Khan wanted to inspire an insurgency in the United States to carry out the sort of attacks that had occurred in Paris and Brussels and had online exchanges with a person believed to be a member of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Khan's parents later sent a letter to a Tucson TV station stating that their son is autistic and doesn't have the mental capacity to carry out any of the acts he was accused of planning.

But a judge granted a request by prosecutors to keep Khan in jail until his trial over concerns that he posed a threat to public safety.

Khan expressed a desire to attack a Jewish community centre in Tucson, according to police, who also said they found a document in a search of his family's home that showed he wanted to attack a military recruiting centre and an LA Fitness location.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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