Video: Miami Terror Cell

July 5, 2006

1. 5 of the 7 are U.S. citizens

2. 6 of the 7 are of Haitian descent

3. They met in a windowless warehouse in Miami they called "the Embassy."

4. None could afford an attorney

5. No evidence of explosives found

6. They could be facing up to 80 years on four charges, including conspiracy to levy war on the U.S.

7. They told neighbors they were building a martial arts school.

* Bonus: Some of the group earned a living by selling hair cream

June 30, 2006 6:19 p.m.

Tony was working on a McFlurry. I had an iced mocha and another in the cooler. Seesaw was doing Wednesday's crossword. Green was smoking a Marlboro Red.

To my right on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, three reporters stood in a line, spaced five feet apart, in front of three cameramen. Behind the reporters were three satellite trucks, their coiled poles in the air. It was a minute before 6 p.m., and they were poised to break.

In a minute it was over. A producer's eyes met the reporter's. She smiled and nodded. They clutched cell phones, notes and keys, and walked off. The coiled polls came down slowly into the trucks.

June 29, 2006 3:11 p.m.

Green had a choice of Yanni or Supertramp, but the Bee Gees were already in, so I said let it play. He opened a carton of Marlboro Reds and unpacked the individual boxes in a cassette holder pulled out from under my seat, then slid it back in. He was ready.

The presser was out in front of the warehouse where the seven accused terrorists lived. At 2 p.m. in Florida if you forget your sunglasses you can't open your eyes all the way. There was a sliver of shade against the warehouse and if you stood against the wall you could get it.

They brought out a pulpit and covered it with a sheet. There were about 50 cameras and reporters around. A man came to the pulpit and started talking. Someone asked him whom he was with. He paused.

"I'm a concerned father of six," he said.

The cameras continued to roll.

Relatives had on white t-shirts with a quote from the Bible. They said the lawyers told them not to talk to the press, but I thought they would, eventually. One relative whom I recognized from the courthouse was followed by a couple of cameras.

"You gonna pay me?" she said, "I'll tell you everything you want to know. You gonna help me pay my lawyer bills?"

One cousin started talking near us. Green moved the camera in closer. It was hard to resist a camera when it moved toward you.

June 27, 2006 1:47 p.m.

CP was talking to the boss of the local station. The goal was to thank the weather reporter for Heat tickets. I had gone along for the walk, and as usual, was standing near the door, saying nothing, until the boss mentioned blueberry pie.

“It was the best blueberry pie I’ve ever had,” she said.

My ears pricked.

“It was so good I bought one to take home,” she said.

Now I looked over and asked, “What’s the name of the place again?”

It was summer, with the 4th coming soon. I hadn’t had blueberry pie in a long time. When I got back to the office I wrote the name of the place on my calendar and asked a couple of people about it. Their reviews were not stellar.

I’d guess the best blueberry pie would be accompanied by a large side of vanilla ice cream. No cheese, not heated…probably with iced tea on the side. Milk might be too heavy.

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Suspected local terrorists arrested in Miami last week. Five of the seven were U.S. citizens, looking to blow up buildings and kill people.

I thought the best line came from the Florida State Attorney, who said, “they had the will, they were looking for the way.”

We were out in front of the courthouse Friday from 4am to 7pm. I had taken a stack of quarters for the meter, but got caught for an $18 ticket at the end of the day.

E-mail Harrigan