Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Malian National Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Diplomat
Alhassane Ould Mohamed, aka Cheibani, 46, a citizen of Mali, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York to conspiring to murder a U.S. diplomat stationed in Niamey, Niger, in December 2000.
The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI New York Field Office.
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, in the early morning hours of Dec. 23, 2000, Mohamed and a co-conspirator accosted a group of employees of the U.S. Embassy in Niger as they left a restaurant in Niamey. Carrying a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle, the two men approached Department of Defense official William Bultemeier as he was about to enter his car, which displayed diplomatic license plates clearly indicating that it belonged to the U.S. Embassy. After demanding that Bultemeier turn over the keys to the diplomatic vehicle, the defendant and his co-conspirator shot Bultemeier and Staff Sergeant Christopher McNeely, the Marine Detachment Commander for the U.S. Embassy in Niger at the time, who had run to Bultemeier’s aid. Mohamed and his fellow assailant then drove away in the U.S. Embassy vehicle.
Bultemeier died of the injuries inflicted by the gunshot wounds. Staff Sergeant McNeely survived the shooting and later retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant.
Today’s plea took place before U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II of the Eastern District of New York. At sentencing on April 26, 2016, as part of the agreement, the defendant faces an agreed-upon sentence of 25 years in prison.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zainab Ahmad, Margaret Lee and Melody Wells of the Eastern District of New York with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.