Houston Man Charged in Plot to Bomb Building

     HOUSTON (CN) — As police arrested a suspect Monday in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey, federal prosecutors announced the arrest of a Houston man accused of plotting to blow up an apartment.
     Cary Lee Ogborn, 50, is charged with ordering dynamite, a wireless detonator and a grenade from AlphaBay, an encrypted website where anonymous users do business with bitcoin, a digital currency.
     An FBI agent posing as an AlphaBay vendor logged on to the site on Aug. 21 and found a private message from “boatsmantv,” Ogborn’s alleged online alias, with the subject line “wireless detonator,” according to an affidavit from FBI special agent Matthew Stecher.
     Over the next few weeks, Ogborn revealed in correspondence with the agent on AlphaBay that he wanted to scare someone who lived in a wooden shed or storage building.
     “The building like a shed or storage, [sic] so yes like a house of wood. I guess I could use ¼ stick TNT and gas to make sure it burns or diesel fuel?” Ogborn asked the FBI agent on Aug. 27, according to transcripts included in the criminal complaint.
     According to Stecher’s affidavit, Ogborn also wrote, “I may use pressure sprayer to wet down the outside of the building right before I trigger it to help the burn. Don’t know exactly whats inside but person using for apartment. Person will not be there when set off. Dont want to kill, just send message. Thanks boatmanstv.”
     Ogborn later allegedly asked the FBI agent if they could get a grenade.
     “The idea we have for this person is, while he sleeping we put grenade in back of truck and run to our car 20 to 30 meters away, then the truck blow up and come outside while he outside we blow up house [sic],” Ogborn wrote to the FBI agent on Sept. 14, according to the charging document.
     Ogborn paid the undercover agent 506 Euros for a package that was sent to a post-office box in Houston, Stecher wrote in the affidavit.
     The FBI and Postal Service investigators reportedly determined Ogborn had applied for and opened the P.O. box under the name “Randy Smith” with a phony Georgia driver’s license.
     Ogborn picked up the package from the P.O. box on Sept. 16 and took it a Houston garage where he repairs boats for a living, the FBI says.
     “He opened the package at about 4:00 p.m. and handled the explosive materials. About 30-40 minutes later he was arrested,” Stecher says in the affidavit.
     Ogborn made his initial appearance Monday afternoon before a federal magistrate judge.
     He sat in a wheelchair with his hands cuffed, his green eyes calm in a handsome acne-scarred face, framed by a curly salt-and-pepper mullet.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy appointed him a federal public defender and government attorneys asked the judge to deny him bond, stating they believe he is a flight risk and danger to the community.
     Stacy set his bail hearing and probable-cause hearing for Wednesday and ordered him jailed until then.
     Ogborn is charged with attempt to transport explosives through interstate commerce to kill, injure or intimidate or destroy buildings or vehicles, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
     Ogborn has a lengthy criminal history.
     He pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud in September 1999 after admitting he falsely reported his Camaro as stolen. He was sentenced to 180 days in Harris County jail and ordered to pay State Farm Insurance $3,808 in restitution, court records show.
     He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession of an illegal weapon in August 2013 and was sentenced to 30 days in Harris County jail after his February 2013 arrest for unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly possessing knuckles.
     He was also arrested in February 1989 on felony charges of auto theft and possession of an ounce of powder cocaine, and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
     Federal prosecutor Alamdar Hamdani declined to tell reporters why Ogborn is in a wheelchair.
     His case appears to involve an alleged personal vendetta with no connections to terrorism, but the fact that the FBI says it was a foiled bomb plot shook a nation already on edge from a bombing Saturday night in Manhattan that injured 29 people and a pipe bomb that exploded in a New Jersey shore town on Saturday morning before a charity race.
     Five explosive devices were found on Sunday in a trash can at an Elizabeth, N.J. train station.
     Police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami — a 28-year-old naturalized citizen from Afghanistan with a home address in Elizabeth — on Monday in New Jersey, after he shot at officers and wounded two of them.
     Press photos show a bloodied Rahami lying on a stretcher and being loaded onto an ambulance.
     Authorities say the New Jersey and New York bombings appear to be a terrorism act with a foreign connection, the Associated Press reported.

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