TOLEDO -- The key witness in the Toledo terrorism case has been revealed. The informant for the government, know as "The Trainer", is a Toledo man. But where is he now?
The FBI won't say much about "The Trainer". They're even refusing to say whether he's currently in the witness protection program.
But there are some facts we do know: "The Trainer" has been identified as Darren L. Griffin. He's 39-years-old, and he's from Toledo. He goes by the Muslim name Balil.
Several sources tell News 11 that Griffin is the man who provided inside information about Mohammad Amawi, Marwan Othaman El-Hindi, and Wassim Mazloum. All three are in federal custody, accused of plotting terrorist attacks against US and coalition forces in Iraq.
We've also learned that Griffin worked part time for KindHearts, a Toledo-based charity that was shut down by the government. Federal investigators believe KindHearts was funneling money to Hamas terrorists. Hatem Elhady, chairman of the board at KindHearts, firmly denies the allegations.
Elhady told News 11 that Griffin came to work at KindHearts in 2002, but has not been seen there for a few months. He said Griffin told him that he was starting a security company downtown.
"It's true that Mr. Griffin is the informant of the FBI," Elhady said. "He was an employee of KindHearts since the first year, and that makes me feel good because that's another reason for the authorities to know that KindHearts was [a] 100% charitable organization."
Elhady added that he feels better knowing that Griffin was working with the government. He said that "makes our picture clearer to them, and we called the government several times to come and look at books and transactions so that we know we're not doing anything wrong."
Elhady said he knew Griffin as "outgoing, social ... willing [to do] any job, not complaining most of the time." According to Elhady, Griffin's work at the charity consisted of data entry, doing deliveries, and answering the phones.
Elhady said Griffin had told him many times that he was "feeling bad about what's going on in Iraq and other parts of the world against the Muslim."
Once Griffin was caught checking out weapons online, Elhady told us. "He was told strongly to never do this again. This is not a place for this. This is only for business. This is not for personal things."
Griffin invited Elhady to go target shooting with him, but Elhady says he declined. He said others did accept the invitation.
"Nobody thought of it as bait or anything like that, but lately a lot of people are trying to connect the dots and thinking probably this guy was trying to drag our feet to something that we have no relation to," Elhady said.
Attorneys for the three terror suspects also said Griffin helped the government build its case against the Toledo men. Sources tell News 11 the men got to know each other at a storefront mosque where they worshipped.
Allegations against the suspects include: El-Hindi asking "The Trainer" to go to the Middle East for firearms training; Mazloum asking him how to build bombs; and Amawi telling him he wanted to target US assets.
The Lasalle Apartments is Griffin's last known address. When we called his phone number, we got a recorded message that said, "The mailbox belonging to Darren Griffin is full."
An ex-girlfriend of "The Trainer" tells News 11 that Griffin was a standout athlete at Woodward High School, worked at the Boys & Girls Club, and joined the military at age 18. The woman remembers him as being very patriotic.
News 11 contacted an FBI spokesperson in Cleveland for comment about Griffin. Agent Scott Wilson said, "Witnesses in FBI cases are very important and, therefore, their identities are protected until ... the FBI is required to release or divulge their identities in a federal court proceeding."