Officials: Man's phone used to call terror suspect

AP News
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Posted: Sep 13, 2011 8:39 PM
Officials: Man's phone used to call terror suspect

A man who tried to run two Marine sergeants off Interstate 5 in July had apparently been in contact with a suspect in a Seattle terrorism plot that had been foiled weeks earlier, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Michael D. McCright, 28, was charged Tuesday with second-degree assault after a car swerved at a government-owned sedan on July 12. He was ordered held on $2 million bail.

The Marines had just left a military recruiting station in South Seattle that was the target of what authorities said was a foiled terror plot by Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif of Seattle and Walli Mujahidh of Los Angeles.

The men were arrested in a sting operation in late June after they arrived at a warehouse garage to pick up machine guns to use in the attack, authorities said.

"Investigators have confirmed that the cell phone used by the defendant, Michael McCright, was used on at least three occasions to contact Abdul-Latif prior to Latif's arrest by federal authorities," King County deputy prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff wrote in documents seeking the high bail amount. "The FBI is continuing to investigate defendant McCright's possible connection to domestic terrorism."

McCright, of Lynnwood, has prior convictions for robbery, assault and burglary, and could face life in prison without release as a three-strikes offender if convicted, Ersndorff said. He wrote that McCright also uses the name Mikhial Jihad.

McCright has not been charged with any terrorism offense, and the prosecutor's office said it was not aware if he had obtained a lawyer.

Seattle police Detective Len Carver III wrote in a probable cause statement that McCright, driving a blue Geo Metro, pulled along the passenger side of the sedan, which had government plates, shortly before 5 p.m. on I-5 in North Seattle. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ryan Picklesimer, who was in uniform, was driving, and Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Lopez was in the passenger's seat.

Picklesimer reported that when the Metro's driver saw him, "his eyes widened and he appeared to become angry," Carver wrote, and the driver swerved suddenly to within 5 or 6 inches of the sedan. The Marines veered into the emergency lane and nearly struck a barrier, he wrote, and the Metro pulled in front of the sedan and braked quickly, forcing Picklesimer to again take evasive action.

The Marines called 911 and reported the Metro's license plate, which was traced to McCright, the detective wrote, and Picklesimer picked McCright's photo out of a montage.

A Seattle police detective spoke twice to McCright by telephone in late August, and McCright claimed he had not been driving his car that day. It wasn't until Sept. 8 that police found and arrested him, Carver wrote. His arraignment was set for Sept. 27.