Early this evening, Friday November 26, 2010, the FBI and the Portland Police Bureau arrested 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia and a resident of Corvallis, Ore., in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb at the Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Square in Downtown Portland. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony annually draws thousands of people into Pioneer Square.
Mohamud was arrested after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be explosives in a van that was parked near the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The device was in fact inert and the public was never at risk.
Chief Michael Reese stated, “This threat was very real but at no point was the public ever in danger. The cooperation of various law enforcement agencies was critical in making this case. I appreciate the partnership we have with the FBI and I’m very proud of the Portland Police Bureau’s role in this investigation. The Portland Police Bureau works to maintain the highest level of safety for our community and this case stands as an example of our commitment to the people we serve.”
Mayor Sam Adams said, “A smart federal, state and local law enforcement investigation caught a criminal tonight bent on mass destruction and murder in our city.” “The bomb was a fake but evidence shows the criminal who tried to detonate it was real. My deepest thanks to the local teams at the United States Department of Justice, FBI, Portland Police Bureau, and other local agencies who were instrumental in protecting our community.”
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Oregon State Police, the Corvallis Police Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and the Portland Police Bureau.
Mohamud was booked into the Multnomah County Jail and is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Portland on Monday. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.