Informant in AZ terror case warns of terror cell

Posted at 2:06 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-13 10:23:13-04

Federal prosecutors on Friday asked a jury to convict a Phoenix moving company owner of a terrorism charge, saying he provided the guns, ammunition and motivation to two Islamic State followers in an attack on an anti-Islam event last year in Texas.

The FBI used a confidential informant to help build its case against  Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, in the first ever ISIS connected trial.

“I’ve known him since I was 14,” said Stefan Verdugo. 

Verdugo lived and worked with Kareem. He also knew the two shooters killed in the Garland, Texas attacks.

He claims he heard the three plotting an attack, but didn't take them seriously until he saw what they had done on the news.

"They aren't people you would have thought would actually have done it," said Verdugo

But seeing the terror in Garland play out right in front of his eyes changed everything.

"He is a terrorist. He should be locked up," said Verdugo.

Verdugo is in jail awaiting his own trial for unrelated charges.

He called the FBI a few weeks before he was arrested on the current charges to help them in the investigation.

"I had two recording devices at all times," said Verdugo.

All to build a case against the accused mastermind, recruiter, and trainer.

"They talked casually, that he and Elton said they were with ISIS and talk to them all the time,” said Verdugo.

And months before the Garland attack, Verdugo claims Kareem came to him with a frightening thought about attacking the Glendale Super Bowl.

"They wanted to know how much explosives would take down a stadium," said Verdugo.

Verdugo is talking about Kareem and the two men the agents call his co-conspirators: Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi.

"He was like can you make a pipe bomb," said Verdugo.

When they couldn't get the weapons they wanted in that plot, the trio found a different target.

Focusing in on the Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Texas.

Simpson and Soofi, carried it out, while Kareem stayed behind.

"It wasn’t that he didn't feel right it. He just got scared saying he had a lot to live for," said Verdugo.

Verdugo, not fooled by Kareem’s doubts, says Kareem is dangerous.

"He shouldn't be out of the streets."

And it's not just him the Valley should worry about.

“There are at least 15 people. They have close friends that believe in the same stuff and are as religious as they are,” said Verdugo.

Verdugo was paid $500 for his information.

He has a very long criminal history. He is currently awaiting trial for charges of sexual assault, sex trafficking, kidnapping, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.