Saturday, September 28, 2002

More news on the Florida Podiatrist Terrorist.

TAMPA - Federal authorities charged a man they say owned five of the firearms recovered at the home of a podiatrist accused of plotting to blow up Islamic mosques and centers around the state.
Samuel Valiant Shannahan III of Dunedin was arrested at his home Wednesday night by agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and charged with illegally transferring firearms, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Tampa on Thursday.

Shannahan was denied bond after a Thursday afternoon detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Thomas McCoun III. McCoun said he needed to investigate the case further before deciding whether to allow Shannahan to be released on bond to live with his father in Citrus County.

Shannahan, 42, was first questioned by investigators Aug. 23, the day Robert Goldstein was arrested. Police say the Seminole podiatrist had drawn up plans to destroy an Islamic education center and dozens of mosques.

Detailed, written plans referred to a ``Val.'' Shannahan, a federally licensed firearms dealer, told investigators he didn't know why he was named in Goldstein's document.

``He said he had no knowledge of why his name was mentioned,'' ATF Special Agent Warren Randall said during Shannahan's detention hearing. ``He described Mr. Goldstein as a person who dabbled with electronics. He later said he knew Goldstein to dabble with explosives.''

Goldstein's written plan that listed ``Val'' as an accomplice was scratched out with ``Mike'' handwritten over it throughout.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Steve Cole wouldn't comment on whether other people have been questioned.

``We're still trying to determine if anyone else is involved,'' he said.