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Former Florida student pleads guilty to terrorism charge

  • Story Highlights
  • Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 26, could be sent to prison for 15 years
  • Mohamed pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists
  • Mohamed, other student arrested after car search yielded bomb-making materials
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(CNN) -- A former University of South Florida student who made a videotape showing how to make and use a remote-controlled bomb pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to providing material support to terrorists, authorities said.

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 26, could be sent to prison for 15 years when he is sentenced, according to federal prosecutors. A sentencing date was not set.

Under the plea agreement, in return for Mohamed's guilty plea, six other charges against him were dropped. Some of those charges stemmed from an August traffic stop in suburban Charleston, South Carolina, in which Mohamed and another USF student were arrested.

At a court hearing, a sheriff's deputy who stopped their car August 4 for traveling 60 mph in a 45 mph zone said he became suspicious when one of the men closed a laptop computer and placed it in the back seat when the car was pulled over.

A search of the vehicle's trunk turned up bomb-making materials -- a PVC pipe containing a potassium nitrate mixture compacted between plugs of kitty litter, about 20 feet of safety fuse and containers filled with gasoline and a potassium nitrate mixture. The materials had been transported from Florida, officials said.

A search of Mohamed's laptop computer found "a large number of file folders containing information relating to the manufacture and use of bombs, rockets and other explosives, including several video recordings showing the use of such devices to attack and destroy manned United States military vehicles," prosecutors said in a statement released Wednesday.

The last item played on the computer before the traffic stop, authorities found, was a video related to the firing of Qassam rockets in the Middle East, the statement said.

Also on the laptop was a 12-minute video in which Mohamed demonstrated and explained in Arabic how to convert a remote-control car to a bomb detonator. The video was uploaded to the file-sharing YouTube Web site a month before the traffic stop, prosecutors said.

After his arrest, Mohamed told authorities during an interview that he made the video to teach "martyrdoms" and "suiciders" how to save themselves and fight the invaders -- the U.S. military and those fighting with the U.S. military in Arab countries.

Attorneys have said Mohamed is an Egyptian national who was born in Kuwait. He was a teaching assistant at USF, where he was pursing a doctorate in civil engineering.

The other USF student arrested, Youssef Megahed, still faces a seven-count indictment filed in September 2007.

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