TAMPA Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Wednesday after being convicted of taking part in a foiled bomb plot that targeted a popular Tampa bar and a hotel-casino.
Sami Osmakac, 27, plans to appeal his June conviction on charges of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and possessing an unregistered automatic firearm, said defense attorney George Tragos.
During the trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that in 2012, Osmakac, a U.S. citizen born in Kosovo, arranged to buy weapons such as a car bomb, machine gun and grenades to target crowded locations in Tampa.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded Osmakac asking if a car bomb would "take down buildings" and "kill people inside," according to court records. Osmakac did not realize that he was purchasing weapons from an undercover agent.
U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley called the case "another victory in our fight against terrorism.”
Tragos, who argued that Osmakac was manipulated by the federal agent, said prosecutors used national security provisions to withhold information about the investigation.
"There was never any proof that he was part of any large conspiracy or group," Tragos said in a phone interview. "It's all the FBI’s money and the FBI’s weapons."
Prosecutors said his intended targets were MacDinton’s Irish Pub and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida; Editing by David Gregorio)