Tags: Two | More | Arrested | HAZMAT | Probe

Two More Arrested in HAZMAT Probe

Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM

Fadhil Al-Khaledy was arrested in Chicago and Raad Al-Malfy was arrested in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A third man, Lofti Raissi, was being held in Britain on two U.S. charges of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to investigators, the department said. However, a British prosecutor has been quoted as saying Raissi may have trained four terrorists who acted as pilots during the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.

A fourth man, Elmeliani Benmoumen, is also in custody, the department said. He is believed to be a middleman who assisted up to 20 men of Middle Eastern background in obtaining Pennsylvania driver's licenses, so they could obtain fraudulent licenses in Pittsburgh to transport hazardous materials, according to officials.

So far, no one has been charged directly in the widespread conspiracy, though the FBI has released the apparent names and pictures of 19 men who hijacked four airliners for the Sept. 11 attacks. Two of the hijacked airliners were driven into the World Trade Center in New York. One was driven into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania, possibly after passengers rushed the hijackers in the cockpit.

The death toll is believed to be above 6,000.

Before Thursday night's apprehensions, the FBI had made nine confirmed arrests of Middle Eastern men who allegedly obtained fraudulent licenses in Pittsburgh to transport hazardous material. Three arrests were in Washington state; one in Kansas City, Mo.; and four in Detroit. The location of one arrest was not disclosed.

But FBI Director Robert Mueller said Thursday those arrests made so far "do not relate to the occurrences of Sept. 11." However, the FBI is continuing to investigate fraudulent hazardous material licenses, and Mueller did not rule out that those still to be apprehended in connection with the fraudulent license scheme might have links to the hijackers.

According to affidavits filed in Pittsburgh, the licenses were obtained through an alleged scam operated by one state examiner, who is now cooperating with the investigation.

The examiner is identified as "confidential witness 1," or CW-1.

"CW-1 acknowledged that approximately six years ago he was introduced by an associate to a person of Middle Eastern origin who he stated may have been named Ben," one affidavit says. Over about 10 visits, "Ben brought to him approximately 10 to 20 individuals, and perhaps as many as 30, for whom he fraudulently obtained CDLs (chauffeurs driver's licenses) with HAZMAT endorsements. CW-1 could not recall the names, but did recall individuals coming from Michigan, Tennessee and Washington state."

The witness told the FBI that "Ben" paid between $50 and $100 for the phony licenses by placing brand new bills under CW-1's desk calendar. Some of those allegedly obtaining the fraudulent transport licenses tried to transfer them to Washington state, officials said.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Fadhil Al-Khaledy was arrested in Chicago and Raad Al-Malfy was arrested in Chattanooga, Tenn. A third man, Lofti Raissi, was being held in Britain on two U.S. charges of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to investigators, the department said. However, a...
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2001-00-28
Friday, 28 September 2001 12:00 AM
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