Skip to comments.'Scary' U of M student jailed, Possible terrorism ties under investigation
Posted on 09/16/2005 5:58:17 AM PDT by gg188
'Scary' U of M student jailed
Possible terrorism ties under investigation
By Chris Conley
September 16, 2005
When FBI agents walked into Mahmoud Maawad's spartan apartment at 3557 Mynders # 5 on Sept. 9, they found a desk, chair, computer and a Koran.
They also found an airline pilot's uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport, and instructional DVDs, including one called "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act."
A federal magistrate Thursday ordered Maawad, a 29-year-old University of Memphis student from Egypt, jailed until his trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.
"The specific facts and circumstances are scary," Asst. U.S. Atty. Steve Parker said, arguing against Maawad's release.
Since Maawad can't get a Social Security number, "he can't get a pilot's license, and can't go to flight school," Parker said. "But he wants to get behind the wheel of an aircraft."
Parker said "we don't know either way" if Maawad is a terrorist or connected to any terror groups.
U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that Maawad be held without bond.
Though it's not illegal to buy aviation material, Anderson noted, "it is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community."
Maawad has been in the country illegally since 1999, and has used a false Social Security number to enroll in schools and open a bank account, Parker said.
He's been working off-the-books for cash at a North Memphis convenience store, and was arrested by Shelby County sheriff's deputies last spring for selling alcohol to a minor.
Agents are downloading information from Maawad's computer and analyzing materials from his apartment in search of a terrorism connection.
"My school is everything," said Maawad, a clean-shaven man built like a weightlifter. "I stay in this country for seven years; I stay for the school."
Maawad said he's studying science and economics at the U of M.
Since Maawad can't work legally, he told authorities a friend would support him.
When court employees tried to reach that friend, the telephone was disconnected.
Between April and August, the penniless student ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, DVDs titled "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings," "Airplane Talk," "Mental Math for Pilots" and "Mastering GPS Flying," FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.
He also ordered a pilot's coat and hat, and a chart of the Memphis airport terminal area from Spotty's USA in San Diego.
When the company didn't receive payment on $2,500 worth of merchandise it had delivered, officials called the FBI, which launched an investigation, Gulczynski said.
-- Chris Conley: 529-2595
Copyright 2005, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
Suspect is before anyone is dead
Know is when you're counting corpses
There's a difference between "still in school" and "back to school" later in life.
The main thing is that the "back to schoolers" have been WORKING in the interim, so they have the real world experience that you refer to.
Anyone who is 29 and has never done anything but go to school may be unwilling to get a real job...from what I've heard, it's common in Germany for people to be professional students and never leave...but there are also lots of people who aren't ready for college at 18 and join the army or have some other job for several years, and then attend college in their late 20s or 30s as "non-traditional students." So being a student at 29 isn't automatically bad. This guy, on the other hand, sounds like a terrorist in training.
This went on for over a year. After that, the "free" car wash was broken (permanently) and the gas prices climbed to the same or more than the competition. You could practically see the cobwebs on the pumps yet they were still fully staffed, all the while they seemed to be actively discouraging business. I became very suspicious of them, I felt they had "pumped up" their books to allow for them to launder money at the same rate after their sales fell off sharply. At the time, I thought they were probably allied with organized crime as the Mafia was imbedded in the area.
A few months ago I heard they were busted for laundering money for Middle East charities (read: a terrorist front). They did this for years. Heaven only knows how much untraceable cash they ran through that station for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda!
Wonder if he had a driver's license, and if so, how he got it.
Good point..also..what's the tuition there?..how was it paid?
Good question there, too. But what made think of the driver's license question was a scandal in TN a while back about DMV employees selling licenses. I hope someone's checking out the driver's license angle.
We have to trust they are.....
. i union with you and i completely agree
engineenering student in USA
Oh, man, this is scary.
The stuff of nightmares.
LOL....but especially if they fit the ME illegal immigrant profile.
A few days later, she had an unfortunate accident, driving her car into a telephone pole. Immediately after a BOMB had gone off in her car.
My recollection is that the car struck the pole at 30 mph or so, and her body was burned to ashes, and the coroner ruled her death was due to the impact of the crash.
My bet is there are numerous (hundreds?) sleepers in the Memphis area, under cover of working for an international corporation or just living, and blending in, in areas of town populated by lots of foreigners working for a local international corporation.
Yep. Of course schools should be cut off from federal aid if they don't check visas and report those which are expired.
Isn't Memphis the home of Federal Express? I seem to remember a lot of FedEx planes there the last time I went. Could it be we need to really check all this stuff out right quick? Sure glad that fellow didn't pay, but how many did pay is my question? Seems rather odd to me.
WWII rules. Find German spies landing on our beaches in the middle of the night? Short shrift.
I just had another thought....many years ago, 8 or 9 or so, didn't some dude attack the crew of a FedEx jumbo jet taking off from Memphis? If I remember correctly, he hit the pilot with a hammer to his head and damned near killed the guy. I think there was a really big fight on board the cargo jet and they managed to subdue the guy. Anyone remember this too? I wonder if it maight have been a percurser to 9/11??? I think the perp was a FedEx employee too!
Please, succumb to racism. Even if they are not active terrorists, these people usually fail to denounce terrorism and even harbor terrorists. Therefore, they are terrorists by default. "We don't support terrorism, but..."
You forgot that the court would apologize first for the inconvenience.
Now aren't we jumping to conclusions? After all, he could just be a method actor preparing for a part in "24."