Family of Alleged ISIS Sympathizer Says Allegations Not True

A South Florida man is sitting in the Federal Detention Center in Miami facing serious charges. The FBI said he was planning a terror attack.

On Wednesday, angry friends and relatives of Harlem Suarez, 23, called the FBI a mafia and avoided cameras outside the apartment complex where Suarez, an alleged ISIS sympathizer, lives with his parents.

One man, who identified himself as a friend of the family, said Suarez and his parents are good people and added the criminals are in Miami wearing suits and ties.

The investigation into Suarez began in April when someone alerted authorities they received a Facebook friend request with extremist rhetoric from "Almlak Benitez."

According to the criminal complaint, FBI analysis determined Suarez was behind the Benitez account.

"I don't think he's really a terrorist like they call him. But I don't know," said neighbor, Yenliey Morejon.

The complaint goes on to say an FBI confidential source made contact with Suarez. Both allegedly first spoke via private message, then eventually the two met in person five times.

One of those meetings, according to the report, took place at a Homestead motel, where they recorded an ISIS recruitment video.

During another meeting, the complaint shows they discussed plans to bury a backpack bomb in a public beach.

"These people are going against our rights, our freedom. And they just want to hurt people for no reason," said neighbor, Elroy Velasquez.

Suarez also allegedly purchased an AK-47 online and it was to be shipped to a Key West pawn shop for pick up. When he went to pick it up, he incorrectly filed paperwork and could not take it, according to official documents.

A pawn shop employee doesn't believe the rifle was sent to his store, but said pawn shops and gun stores in the area communicated once alerted about Suarez by authorities.

It appears Suarez's plot came to a halt on July 27 when he entered an undercover agent's car to obtain what he believed was an explosive device. Officials arrested him after leaving the vehicle and neighbors later watched in shock as authorities raided his home.

"Maybe troubled, maybe confused, but he is not a terrorist," said Attorney Richard Della Fera.

Suarez is currently at the Federal Detention Center in Miami being held without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 3.

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