Detroit terror suspect accused of amassing stockpile of weapons will stay in jail

Sebastian Gregerson's trial to begin in May

DETROIT – A Detroit terror suspect accused of amassing a stockpile of weapons will stay in jail, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Thursday afternoon.

Sebastian Gregerson is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in April. His trial is expected to begin in May.

Gregerson, also known as Abdurrahman Bin Makaayl, 30, of Detroit, was charged with receipt of explosive materials with intent to harm, unlicensed receipt of explosive materials and two counts of unregistered possession of a destructive device.

Gregerson’s attorney filed a motion last month to revoke the order of detention pending trial. The government filed an opposition, saying that he is a supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and that he acquired explosives and other weapons to "prepare to engage in violent acts aligned with ISIL."

The motion describes the arsenal of weapons, ammunition, tactical gear and training materials that Gregerson allegedly purchased over 16 months prior to his arrest.

Authorities said the 29-year-old tried to purchase grenades from an undercover FBI officer and told agents he had an interest in weapons he could use "in an attack." During a search of his home, investigators found assault rifles, handguns, a shotgun, a hatchet, two machetes, multiple fixed blade knives, a grenade launcher, and road spikes among other items.

According to the indictment, Gregerson received about 26 ounces of Composition B "with knowledge and intent that said explosive materials would be used to kill, injure, and intimidate a person and to unlawfully damage and destroy property."

A Facebook account belonging to a user with the name Abdurrahman Bin Mikaayl includes an image of a man on a horse carrying the Islamic State flag.

A source alerted the FBI that Gregerson claimed to have grenades and bazookas, which prompted an investigation.

Motion to revoke detention pending trial; opposition motion filed

Gregerson’s attorney filed a motion to revoke the order of detention pending trial arguing there are suitable bond conditions.

[The government's opposition motion, the defense's motion to revoke detention pending trial, the indictment and the original criminal complaint are available below]

The motion filed Dec. 15 argues that the government relied on “general inflammatory statements” made to the undercover agent to deny Gregerson bond.

Gregerson had a detention hearing Aug. 4 where a judge denied bond on grounds of being a danger to the community. Additional charges were added Dec. 1.

The motion says that Gregerson has a viable residence with his wife and two children in Detroit and that his wife is willing to be a third-party custodian. Prior to his arrest, Gregerson worked at Target, and the motion says Gregerson is confident he can find work while awaiting trial.The motion also says that he has a suitable alternative address with his mother and father near Ann Arbor and that his father is willing to be a third-party custodian for him.

The government's opposition motion says that Gregerson should not be released for six reasons:

  • the defendant's purchase of high explosives grenades -- military weapons whose sole purpose is to injure and destroy
  • the defendant's expressed desire to purchase a Claymore mine
  • the defendant's acquisition of an extensive amount of weapons, ammunition, and tactical gear
  • the defendant's identification with and support of ISIL
  • the defendant's statements relating to acquiring weapons in order to equip himself, as ISIL instructs, for a confrontation with "infidels"
  • the additional felony charges against him for unlawfully purchasing two firearms

The investigation

During the course of the investigation, agents said they obtained records showing that Gregerson purchased an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, tactical gear and tactical training materials. The items included “seven fixed-blade knives of significant length, hundreds of rounds of AK-47 ammunition, two balaclava ski masks (covering all but the eyes), a car holster, and a Kalashnikov training video," according to records.

According to agents, the purchase of training videos for the weapons made it unlikely that they were purchased for recreational use.

Records showed that Gregerson purchased road spikes on eBay.

Court-authorized tracking of Gregerson’s location indicated that he visited an outdoors store in Dearborn and bought a long-barreled firearm with a barrel that folds upward and back, reducing the length of the weapon and making it easier to conceal, authorities said.

An FBI surveillance team said it saw Gregerson buy a pistol in the parking lot of a gas station in Belleville. 

Gregerson’s statements to undercover FBI agent

During recorded conversations with an undercover FBI agent, Gregerson often spoke about weapons, particularly grenades and grenade launchers, authorities said.

Gregerson described to an agent what tactics he would employ to attack a building using grenades and his interest in obtaining high explosives, the FBI said. He later told the agent about the construction of homemade high-explosive grenades and showed considerable knowledge of the process, according to authorities.

The agent provided a scenario for Gregerson to obtain military hardware. Gregerson talked about his interest in Claymore mines, calling them “a magical piece of equipment,” the FBI said.

The agent went to Gregerson’s home and was shown a 37-mm grenade launcher, 37-mm grenades, a loaded AK-47 rifle, a machete, a shotgun shell carrier, six AK-47 magazines with 40 rounds of ammunition in each and a ballistics vest with military grade plates, authorities said.

He also had a bag containing AK-47 magazines and called it a “grab and go” bag, the agent said.

Gregerson taken into custody

At Gregerson’s request, the undercover agent obtained smoke grenades and M-67 fragmentary grenades, and they met at a gas station in Monroe, according to the FBI.

Gregerson arrived at the meeting with a Beretta M9 that he said he would use as payment for the grenades, authorities said.

After the exchange was made, Gregerson was taken into custody.

Opposition to defendant's motion to revoke order of pretrial detention

Motion to revoke order of detention pending trial

New indictment

Original criminal complaint

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