An FBI sting operation led to accusations that a Tucson man built a homemade explosive device for what he thought would be a car bomb, according to court records unsealed this week.

Ahmad Suhad Ahmad, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested Friday on suspicion of distributing information related to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction, an FBI special agent wrote in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

Ahmad learned how to use a cellphone to detonate bombs during the war in Iraq, he told an FBI source in December 2016, according to the complaint. Ahmad told the FBI source the bombs were “easy to make” and he agreed to “make a car bomb for a target in Mexico.”

Ahmad met numerous times in Tucson with FBI sources and undercover FBI agents in April 2017 to discuss plans for building the bomb, according to the complaint.

On one occasion, Ahmad met an FBI source in a vehicle at the apartment complex where Ahmad lived in Tucson and explained the equipment he needed.

Ahmad also sent an FBI source a text message with a “bomb recipe written in Arabic” that explained a “multi-step process to make a land mine or improvised explosive device,” the FBI special agent wrote in the complaint.

Ahmad then traveled with two FBI sources and two undercover agents from Tucson to Las Vegas on April 26, 2017. Ahmad brought a circuit tester, electrical tape, tubes of adhesive and other items needed to build the bomb. Undercover agents brought other materials requested by Ahmad.

While at a condominium in Las Vegas, Ahmad built the device over several hours and explained the process to an undercover agent. He showed one of the agents “how to connect the blasting caps and where to place the C-4” explosives, according to the complaint.

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Ahmad also explained how to build another bomb and, after building both devices, explained how they operated.

Ahmad’s federal public defender declined to comment. The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office referred the Arizona Daily Star to court documents.

In a separate federal complaint from November 2017, Ahmad was accused of conspiring to sell heroin to an FBI source in January and February 2017.

An FBI special agent wrote that Ahmad told FBI sources he could sell them heroin. Ahmad then bought 45 grams of heroin from his neighbor, “Pancho,” in the 4800 block of East Wyoming Street and sold it to the FBI sources.

The federal drug charge was dismissed March 19, less than two weeks after Ahmad was incarcerated in state prison on a drug-related conviction in Pima County. He was released Sept. 28, Arizona Department of Corrections records show.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at cprendergast@tucson.com

or 573-4224. On Twitter:

@CurtTucsonStar