Alleged Terrorist Had History of Mental Illness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A California man who thought he was meeting someone linked to the Taliban was arrested Friday morning after federal agents say he tried to detonate some sort of car-bomb at a Bank of America branch near Oakland's airport.

    The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has learned a great deal about 28-year-old Matthew Llaneza through court records and sources.

     Llaneza is the San Jose man federal officials said thought he was meeting someone linked to the Taliban Friday morning to detonate some sort of car-bomb at a Bank of America branch in Oakland.

    The explosive was a fake, prosecutors said. The feds said the FBI had been eyeing Llaneza, 28, for a while during an undercover investigation monitored by the FBI's South Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force.

     He was arrested on the spot. 

    Among other things, the Investigative Unit learned Llaneza served in the Marines, but not his full term. Sources say he was discharged for medical reasons.

    He spent some time with family about three years ago in Arizona before returned to San Jose.

    According to his former attorney, the legal troubles started shortly after his father had him put on a mental health hold at Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

    Defense attorney Cameron Bowman represented Llaneza following an incident that started at a home in northeast San Jose in 2011. Cameron said Llaneza was a troubled individual in a lot of ways.

    According to court records, Llaneza's father called authorities after his son was hearing voices and acting strange at the time.

    "His family had a lot of concern for his mental health. The court had a lot of concern about his mental health issues ult they felt outside experts felt that he was bipolar, possibly schizophrenic,' Cameron said.

    To the right is an exclusive picture obtained by NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit. It shows an AK47 assault rifle and the three banana clips each containing 30 rounds. The rifle and the clips were found in Llaneza's home on his dad's property in 2011.

    They were purchased legally in Arizona, but are illegal in California. Court records show he was arrest for the weapons and plead guilty to two felony counts.

    He was sentenced to six years, but only served one year in county jail.

    Cameron said he received what's called a blended or mandatory supervision sentence, which is fairly new in California.

    "The idea is to give the person a prison sentence. give him some jail up front, but then suspend some of it with intense supervision."

    According to Cameron, conditions of his probation included staying out of trouble, taking his medications, continuing psychological treatment and no weapons possession.

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