Investigators believe the Florence woman arrested on charges of terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism was helping her husband, a radicalized member of the Islamic faith who is serving a life prison for first-degree murder, with a plot to murder a warden.
FBI agents arrested Michelle Bastian, 49, Wednesday morning at her workplace, a bakery in Chandler called Urban Oven where she was a bookkeeper. They also served search warrants at her Florence home.
According to court paperwork released Thursday, this investigation goes back to May when “a known source” reported to the Arizona Department of Corrections that Thomas Bastian, Michelle’s husband, was a believer in Islam and had become radicalized.
In September, the same source told the FBI that Thomas “was planning to create an explosive device in order to kill people, to include the prison warden.”
Court paperwork indicates that the same source said Michelle was helping Thomas, who has been in prison since March 31, 2009.
“Further information from the known source revealed that Thomas had a plan in action to create an explosive device to either kill the warden or to plant it in a vending machine located within the visitor section of the prison,” the officer who arrested Michelle wrote in his probable cause statement.
Michelle has been booked on Arizona state terrorism charges.
According to Michelle’s court paperwork, this was not the first time Thomas has threatened members of the law enforcement community, nor was it the first time he mentioned using a bomb.
The Scottsdale Police Department investigated him in 2009 for “threatening the lives of the law enforcement personnel who assisted in his murder conviction and threatened the use of explosives.”
Thomas, according to court paperwork, is housed in a maximum security unit ASPC-Lewis but was working on transferring back into the general population, which would give him access to the vending machines in the area where inmates meet their visitors.
The source, who was not identified, said the idea was for Michelle to give Thomas, who is 10 years her junior, everything he needed to carry out his plan when she visited him.
According to court paperwork, the source’s information was corroborated by evidence discovered during a search of Thomas’ cell, including a publication called “Inspire,” which is put out by al-Qaida, and another called “Dabiq,” which is distributed by ISIS. Continue reading
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