The Smoking Gun says the man over there to the right, 39-year-old Shaquille Azir, was the confidential informant that helped the FBI nab the five men who plotted to blow up a bridge in Brecksville. (A lawyer for one of the defendants has since confirmed the identity to NewsNet5.)
Azir has a track record with the law. Passing bad checks, cocaine possession, fraud, time in jail, etc., and it's not done yet. He was arrested twice in 2012 and has two court dates coming up: one on May 10 for passing bad checks (two cases were consolidated) and one on May 14 for parole violation.
Here's a slice of The Smoking Gun's summary. Read it all for yourself over at TSG.
The FBI source—who has been paid “$5750 for services and $550 for expenses”—has prior convictions for cocaine possession (1990), robbery (1991), and four convictions for passing bad checks between 1991 and 2011, according to the bombing complaint. No mention is made, however, of Azir’s two pending criminal cases.
Azir’s first indictment this year came on January 12, when he was charged with knowingly passing a bad check for $1471.87 to a home décor company. On January 24, he was named in a second felony indictment accusing him of defrauding a Cleveland-based credit union through the issuance of a bum check for $2165. The two cases have been consolidated and Azir is next due in court on May 10.
Azir is also facing a probation violation hearing in Lorain County, where he has been convicted of passing bad checks. That hearing, which has been postponed several times during the course of his FBI cooperation, is now scheduled for May 14.
If you read through the affidavit and parse the comments made by the lawyer representing one of the suspects, it's easy to tell which way the defense will be leaning when this goes to trial: Azir was the one driving this bus, entrapping the five self-styled anarchists along the way.
Defense lawyer John Pyle, who represents one of the defendants, Brandon Baxter, told the Associated Press that the informant’s role needed to be examined.
“We need to … put the case under a microscope,” Pyle said. “But just on the basis on the filing in the court, there's some indicators that this informant was playing a really active role.”