MIAMI — A plot to blow up Dolphin Mall was foiled by federal agents in an undercover operation that led to the arrest of a man from Miami.
According to authorities, Vicente Solano was acting alone as he planned a weapons of mass destruction attack on the Dolphin Mall in Doral, the Miami Herald reported.
The FBI was tipped off by a confidential informant, who was communicating with Solano, about the alleged plot. Authorities said that although Solano made pro-Islamic State videos, there wasn’t evidence to suggest he had any connection to ISIS or another terrorist group.
Undercover FBI agents supplied Solano with a hoax bomb, which he allegedly planned to detonate at the mall. The strategy has been used in previous counter-terrorism probes in South Florida, the Herald said and is considered standard procedure in the post-9/11 world. Agents rely on informants to alert them to suspicious activity and then engage the suspect, recording their conversations, before thwarting the plan.
In 2015, federal agents arrested Harlem Suarez, 25, from Key West, who planned an explosive attack on July 4th. A year later, James Medina, 41, was convicted of trying to bomb an Aventura synagogue. Suarez was sentenced to life in prison. Medina faces up to 25 years in prison ahead of a November sentencing.
Solano will have his first appearance in Miami federal court on Monday.
Representatives with the Dolphin Mall declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.