A New Orleans snowball stand worker, described by the FBI as a “self-proclaimed bomb maker,” pleaded guilty to a federal crime Thursday after authorities accused him of agreeing to build an explosive device potent enough to blow up a car.
Sam D. Schulman, 31, admitted to one count of “maliciously conveying false information,” a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Schulman had claimed he would build the explosive device while “knowing that information to be false,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Kennedy said.
Schulman agreed to build an explosive device last year and sell it for $125,000 to a federal informant for the purpose of blowing up a car, according to the FBI. The authorities said he went as far as going to a Lowe’s store on Elysian Fields Avenue to buy materials investigators said could have been used in building a bomb.
At one point during the investigation, Schulman agreed with an informant that the device should be “just enough to destroy the car,” court documents show, adding he was not “trying to be on ‘60 Minutes.’ ”
Prosecutors said a confidential source first contacted Schulman in May 2013 at a snowball stand on Canton Street in New Orleans. Schulman asked the source to meet him later to discuss buying explosives, according to court records. In October, the informant met with Schulman at his home on Spain Street to discuss the bomb, which Schulman said “would be made with regular items obtainable in a grocery store.”
“Schulman assured the (informant) that the materials would not be traceable,” FBI Agent Ronald Reed wrote in a criminal complaint.
A week later, the informant clarified that Schulman was to provide a bomb and not just instructions on how to make one.
Schulman told the informant “he intended to use C-4 as an explosive charge” Reed wrote, “and explained that the bomb would be attached to the underside of a vehicle.”
Schulman was taken into custody in early November, shortly after authorities concluded he had been conferring with a former soldier who had received explosives training, according to an affidavit in support of a search warrant.
Michael Anderson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s local office, said at the time of the arrest that the public had not been in danger “and our team was able to make a successful arrest before Schulman had the opportunity to execute his plan.”
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