Monday, May 13, 2013

Detroit: Saudi Muslim arrested while carrying a pressure cooker and having an altered passport

Just one question; what was he thinking?  How stupid to try and bring a pressure cooker onto a plane while having a passport that has been altered, and being Saudi to boot.  There was no bomb, only the cooker but you have to wonder why...

From the Detroit Free Press May 13 by Tresa Baldas

Saudi traveler with pressure cooker arrested at Detroit Metro Airport

Federal agents arrested a traveler with an altered Saudi Arabian passport at Detroit Metro Airport over the weekend after discovering a pressure cooker in his luggage.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, passenger Hussain Al Khawahir initially told customs officers he brought the pressure cooker for a nephew at the University of Toledo because pressure cookers aren’t sold in Saudi Arabia, the complaint said. The man then changed his story and admitted his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in America before, but it “was cheap” and broke after the first use.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforcement officer read the passenger his Miranda rights and took him into custody.

Al Khawahir is temporarily being detained pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Detroit. He is charged with knowingly using an altered Saudi Arabian passport with missing pages and making a false statement to a CBP officer about a pressure cooker found in his possession, all to gain entry into the U.S.

CBP officials and the FBI declined comment.

And it wasn’t just the pressure cooker — a device that was used in last month’s Boston Marathon bombings — that raised red flags for border officials. The man’s passport also caught their attention.

According to the complaint, two customs officers noticed a page had been removed from the Al Khawahir’s passport when he arrived at Detroit Metro on Saturday from Saudi Arabia via Amsterdam. Al Khawahir, who said he would be visiting his nephew in Toledo, said he did not know how the page was removed from the passport, the complaint said.

Was it a page that would have had country entrance/exit stamps on them?  Maybe there would have been stamps from Yemen, or Pakistan, or Iraq.  We may never know.

Al Khawahir told the officers that the passport was locked in a box that only he, his wife and three minor children have access to in his home, the complaint said. His hometown was not listed in court documents.

A minute after being read his Miranda rights, Al Khawahir invoked his right to remain silent, the complaint said.

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