Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the terror attack in Orlando, was enrolled in an online Islamic fundamental course ran by a radical Muslim released from prison last year.
“It is no coincidence that this happened in Orlando,” a law enforcement source told Fox News Sunday. The imam, Marcus Dwayne Robertson, was released from federal prison in 2015 after being convicted for weapons and tax charges. Robertson was previously imprisoned in 1991 for running a bank robbery ring infamously known as “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.”
Federal authorities claim that Robertson during the same period of time as he was robbing banks served as a bodyguard to Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is also known as the “Blind Sheik,” and was behind the planning of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Robertson subsequently worked as an undercover agent for the FBI from 2004 to 2007.
Robertson runs a school in Orlando known as the Timbuktu Seminary. His followers there know him as Abu Taubah. There he instructed a student, Jonathan Paul Jimenez, to file fraudulent tax returns in order to get a tax refund to pay for travel to Mauritania, where Jimenez would receive terror training.
Jimenez would go to Mauritania where he received training in suicide bombing, and identifying and murdering U.S military members. Jimenez went to prison in 2012 for ten years for conspiring to defraud the IRS and lying to authorities.
Robertson was convicted in December 2013 on a weapons charge and conspiring to defraud the IRS. While in prison, he was moved to solitary confinement after prison authorities believed he had radicalized up to 36 prisoners.
Prosecutors sought enhanced terrorism chargers during Robertson’s sentencing. They said he was “focused on training others to commit violent acts as opposed to committing them himself.”
The prosecutors efforts jailed and U.S District Judge Gregory Presnell freed Robertson in June 2015 with time served.
A law enforcement source familiar with Robertson told Fox News, “Mateen was enrolled in [Robertson’s online] Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary.”
Robertson and people associated him were brought into questioning by law enforcement, according to Fox News. Robertson’s attorney, Corey Cohen, said “no comment” when asked if his client was in custody. Cohen told Fox the imam “never taught or condoned violence in any way.”