updated 1/5/2007 3:35:16 AM ET 2007-01-05T08:35:16

A Muslim convert was indicted Thursday on charges of trying to use hand grenades to blow up garbage cans at a shopping mall.

Derrick Shareef, 22, was arrested Dec. 6 by an FBI-led anti-terrorism task force following a sting operation in which an undercover informant secretly tape-recorded his plans.

Federal prosecutors who announced the arrest said they were convinced Shareef had operated alone and there had been no danger to the public.

Shareef is being held in the government's Metropolitan Correctional Center pending a court hearing. No date has been set.

Shareef was born in the United States and converted to Islam, officials have said earlier.

Defense attorney Michael B. Mann, who was appointed to represent Shareef at his initial court appearance in December, was unavailable for comment on Thursday. A message left on his office voicemail was not immediately returned.

It was unclear after the grand jury indictment was announced late Thursday whether Shareef had hired another attorney.

Shareef was arrested when he met an undercover agent in a parking lot to trade a pair of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a handgun.

He was charged in the two-count indictment with attempting to use weapons of mass destruction at Rockford, Illinois' 130-store CherryVale Shopping Center during the Christmas shopping rush.

Federal prosecutors said the weapons of mass destruction were the hand grenades which he planned to use to blow up garbage cans in the center.

The indictment also charged Shareef with attempting to maliciously damage and destroy property by means of arson and explosives.

The arson and explosives count carries a mandatory minimum on conviction of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years. The weapons of mass destruction count carries a maximum of life. Both counts carry a maximum fine of $250,000.

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