DETROIT - Documents filed in the US federal court for the Eastern District of Michigan are giving us a look into the government's case against an metro Detroit man who is accused of supporting ISIS.
The new information comes in the form of a response to a motion for bond and exhibits filed with the court.
Yousef Ramadan was arrested in August while boarding a plane with his wife and four young children at Metro Airport when a scan of his checked luggage showed he was carrying tactical equipment and body armor. These items are detailed in exhibit photos.
Federal officials also also found several cell phones, laptop computers and external drives. Photos also show knives, a gun scope, pepper spray and a Taser.
The court filing listed all of the following as being found in Ramadan's luggage: "two level III armor plates; three load bearing vests (armor plate carriers); a bullet proof vest; a riflescope; a bracket designed to mount a riflescope on an AR-15 assault rifle; several tactical knives; miscellaneous gun ammunition magazine carriers; a black thigh gun holster; a leather concealed gun shoulder holster; a rifle lower rail hand grip; a combat carrying bag with magazine holders; a firearm mountable military grade flashlight; a shooter’s noise reducing ear muffs; a Taser with two extra cartridges and an extra battery pack; law-enforcement grade pepper spray; a gas mask; walkie-talkies; a handheld GPS; a black mask; and a remote controlled aerial drone."
Among the photo exhibits is a picture of what is purported to be a pipe bomb.
According to the response field with the court, Ramadan originally said he had downloaded the picture. However, under later questioning, prosecutors write "when Ramadan was asked specifically how long it took him to construct the pictured device, Ramadan stated, without hesitation, 'about one hour.'”
Prosecutors continue on, writing "Realizing his admission, Ramadan then attempted to recant, stating that he meant it would take about one hour if he had all the components needed to make the device."
According to the response filed in federal court, law enforcement officials obtained a warrant to search Ramadan's media devices. It was on these devices that they found the picture of the pipe bomb, as well as photos of Ramadan holding and shooting guns.
In their brief to the court, federal prosecutors say that their evidence show that Ramadan is "a danger to the community based on his possession of illegal, dangerous weapons, his commission of multiple crimes while under Court supervision, his drug possession and use, and his prior assaultive conduct. Additionally, there is a preponderance of evidence that Ramadan is a risk of non- appearance because of his likely denaturalization, his expressed desire to leave the United States, his current lack of sufficient community ties, and his general untrustworthiness. Because no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure Ramadan’s appearance or the safety of the community pending his trial, the Court should deny his motion for bond."
The court filing goes on to reveal that Ramadan, his wife and their four children has purchased tickets on a one way flight to Bethlehem, Israel, via Amman, Jordan.
According to the court filing, Ramadan became "very nervous" and "did not provide sufficient explanations" when approached about the items in his luggage.
This led federal agents to obtain the search warrant for Ramadan's electronic devices, in which the found the pictures of Ramadan with weapons, as well as ISIS propaganda videos and photographs.
Following the search, FBI agents spoke with Ramadan's wife, who according to court documents said the family was moving to Bethlehem. Metadata from the picture of the pipe bomb showed that it was taken in Ramadan's Bethlehem home.
When asked about the items in the luggage, Jeanine Ramadan said she was unaware of them, that her husband must have packed them all and that it was not her place to question her husband.
The court documents say officials then questioned Ramadan about his guns and ISIS.
Prosecutors write "he said that he supported ISIS and its ideal to create a caliphate. When asked about ISIS’s violent acts to accomplish its goals, Ramadan said that he did not support the violent side of ISIS. When officers confronted Ramadan with the fact that the ISIS videos that he watched and stored on his electronic media devices depicted almost exclusively violent acts by ISIS, Ramadan said that if he wanted to do a violent act he would not travel overseas—that he would do it in the United States because it would be much easier. He stated that even if his weapons were confiscated, he would simply buy more weapons 'off the streets,' again emphasizing that conducting an attack 'here' would be far easier than doing it overseas. Ramadan said that an attack in the United States would be viewed and praised as a huge victory by ISIS."
Following the interviews, federal prosecutors write that Ramadan was released and they tracked down his storage unit in Ann Arbor. They then obtained a search warrant, and located numerous weapons, including two that Ramadan is charged with removing the serial numbers from.
The federal response includes the following list of weapons found in the storage locker: "the Jennings J-22 firearm and the Ruger Mk II firearm−as well as a silencer (manufactured to attach to the Ruger Mk II firearm)", as well as "a Howa model 1500 .308 rifle; a PW Arms 7.62 rifle; a Kimber Pro Covert II .45; several AR-15 parts, including some with very distinct camouflage paint; four AR- 15 magazines; two rifle scopes; miscellaneous magazines for various firearms, including high capacity magazines; and miscellaneous ammunition. Additionally, the FBI found various components that could be used to construct a bomb: black powder fireworks, wires, an electric wire tester, cell phones (used as remote electric igniters), and items that can be used as shrapnel."
Prosecutors write that evidence indicates that AR-15 was stolen while working at a San Diego carpet cleaner.
The gun was reported stolen in October 2015. According to the court documents, the AR-15 was custom built by the owner.
In their argument, prosecutors argue that the theft of the AR-15, as well as lying during the process of becoming a US citizen, show Ramadan has a history of criminal conduct. The write this includes a history of identity theft, all of which prosecutors write occurred after his was put on probation in a Social Security fraud case.
The also include the theft of federal law enforcement identification, including a hard pass that would allow the holder full access to the Sand Diego Airport grounds, including all terminals and ramps.
Prosecutors also argue that Ramadan is a danger to the community, citing that he admits to supporting ISIS.
The evidence presented to support this claim includes photos of him showing common ISIS hand signs.
The evidence also includes a photo from graffiti supporting the ISIS caliphate written inside his cell at the Milan correctional facility.
Other evidence presented also shows Ramadan with marijuana plants.
Ramadan remains in federal custody and is only facing the gun charge and 5 years in prison. His family left the country after his arrest and remains in Palestine, according to federal prosecutors.
It is not yet clear if terrorism charges will be filed in the case.