By Gary Craig, Staff writer - Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, NY)

Through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, Mufid Elfgeeh spelled out again and again his ideological hatred toward the United States, federal authorities allege.

In one Tweet, he announced his allegiance with al-Qaida, writing, "al-Qaida said it loud and clear; we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people," authorities say.

Other Tweets encouraged the donation of money for jihadists, and, while advocating martyrdom, Elfgeeh claimed al-Qaida and jihadists are the world's true Muslims.

On Saturday afternoon, FBI agents and members of the agency's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Elfgeeh in the parking lot of the Walmart at 1490 Hudson Ave. They allege that he'd planned to buy firearms and he wanted to use them to kill returning American troops as well as Shi'a Muslims living in the region.

Elfgeeh is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen who managed a convenience store on North Clinton Avenue.

At the Walmart, Elfgeeh, 30, met with an FBI informant who provided him firearms and silencers, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Albert Zenner.

A swarm of law enforcement officials arrested Elfgeeh around 3 p.m. as shoppers wandered in and out of the store. The weapons the informant gave Elfgeeh immediately before the arrest had been rendered inoperable beforehand, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Harvey, a prosecutor in the case.

"At no time was there a risk to the public this weekend," FBI Special Agent Brian Boetig, who heads the agency's western New York region, said about the large show of force for the arrest.

Elfgeeh is charged with two counts of illegally receiving and possessing unregistered firearm silencers, but the investigation is continuing, U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. said at a news conference Monday.

At a court appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman, Elfgeeh was appointed lawyers from the Federal Public Defender's Office. A bail hearing is scheduled for June 16.

Federal prosecutors have requested that Elfgeeh stay jailed pending trial.

Using confidential informants, the FBI has been investigating Elfgeeh since early 2013, according to the affidavit from Zenner.

In early 2013, an individual who has occasionally worked as an informant for the FBI "first reported information about Elfgeeh."

The informant, records show, has helped the FBI since around 2000. He has been paid about $21,700 by the agency, and the FBI assisted him in receiving visas for family members.
 

A second informant, who also has been paid by the FBI, began a series of conversations with Elfgeeh in late 2013. Those broad talks about terrorism in the Middle East and American politics morphed into Elfgeeh's stated intent to do harm to Americans, authorities allege.

In the aftermath of the December terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya, Elfgeeh told the second informant that, "I'm thinking about just go buy a big automatic gun from off the street ... and just put on a vest or whatever and just go around and start shooting," the affidavit states.

Elfgeeh indicated he already had a bulletproof vest.

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