A motorist stopped along Interstate 80 earlier this month told state troopers he knew of terrorist plans to shoot trams and trains in San Diego and people tied to al-Qaida, according to court papers.
Michael Wagner, 44, of San Diego, pleaded innocent Tuesday in U.S. District Court to being a felon in possession of body armor and weapons.
According to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, Wagner told Iowa troopers he had knowledge of terrorist activities and people and groups tied to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Wagner also said that he knew about things in the Muslim communities in San Diego that federal agencies would be interested in.
A state trooper stopped the sport utility vehicle Wagner was driving on July 14 after the trooper noticed Wagner was not wearing a seat belt.
Linda Maguire, who said she had been living with Wagner for 12 to 13 years, was a passenger.
Wagner told the officer he had no identification and gave a false name. The vehicle license number was "suspicious," court documents said.
The officer called a canine unit to search the SUV and found flight training manuals, flight training software, three bulletproof vests, night-vision goggles, a night-vision scope for a rifle, a telescope, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a bag of ammunition and marijuana residue in the ashtray.
Also found in the vehicle were numerous pages of literature and documents with Arabic printing, court papers said.
Some of the items were hidden inside a hollowed-out computer hard drive, the papers said.
Wagner told police that the vests were for his children for protection after Sept. 11, 2001, and that the night-vision goggles belonged to his son, who was a paintball enthusiast.
Maguire told police the gun was hers. She said she and Wagner were driving to Wagner's parents' home in Cleveland, Ohio.