CRIME

Antonio Martinez pleads guilty in Md. bomb plot

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A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to trying to detonate what he thought was a car bomb outside a military recruiting center in suburban Baltimore.

Antonio Martinez's sentencing is set for April 6. (Photo: WJLA)

Antonio Martinez originally pleaded not guilty but entered a new plea Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

"We are catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver."

He pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against a property leased and used by the U.S. Defense Department.

Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced April 6. He faces up to 25 years behind bars.

Court documents detail a sting that allegedly caught Martinez trying to detonate a phony car bomb, provided by the FBI, outside the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Catonsville.

The 22-year-old's attorneys sought to have the charges dismissed, arguing that early meetings with an informant were not recorded.

Martinez, a recent convert to Islam,  preferred to be addressed as Muhammad Hussain.

"This is an example of another successful prosecution that resulted from outstanding partnerships between the Muslim community and law enforcement," stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely. "As the threat from homegrown violent extremists remains high, the FBI and our police partners rely on a two way flow of information with the Muslim community at large."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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