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Former student gets 15 years for supporting terrorism

  • Story Highlights
  • Man sentenced in Florida for providing material support to terrorists
  • Ex-University of South Florida student arrested during 2007 traffic stop
  • Man made video showing how to make bomb, prosecutors say
  • Bomb-making materials found in car trunk, information on laptop, they say
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(CNN) -- A former University of South Florida student has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for providing material support to terrorists, including making a videotape showing how to assemble and use a remote-controlled bomb, prosecutors said.

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 26, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Tampa, Florida. He pleaded guilty to the charge in June.

Under a plea agreement, six other charges against him were dropped.

Some of those charges stemmed from an August 2007 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 Toyota Camry 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. Mohamed was driving the car, authorities said.

A search of the vehicle's trunk turned up bomb-making materials -- a PVC pipe containing a potassium nitrate mixture compacted between plugs of cat 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 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 Thursday.

The last item displayed on the computer before the traffic stop was a video relating 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 into a bomb detonator. The video was uploaded to the file-sharing Web site YouTube a month before the traffic stop, prosecutors said.

After his arrest, Mohamed told authorities 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. in Arab countries, according to prosecutors' statement Thursday.

"He said that he intended the technology demonstrated in his audio/video recording to be used against those who fight for the United States," the statement read.

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

The other USF student arrested in South Carolina, Youssef Megahed, still faces a seven-count indictment filed in September 2007. That case is pending.

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