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Saudi Traveler With Pressure Cooker Arrested At Detroit Metro Airport

3:36 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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Detroit, MI (freep.com) -- Federal agents arrested a suspicious traveler with an altered Saudi Arabian passport at Detroit Metro Airport during the weekend after discovering a pressure cooker in his luggage.

According to a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court, the passenger, Hussain Al Khawahir initially told customs officers that he brought the pressure cooker for a nephew at the University of Toledo because pressure cookers are not 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.

Then came the Miranda rights.

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

But 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 man's passport when he arrived at Detroit Metro on Saturday from Saudi Arabia via Amsterdam. The passenger, who said he would be visiting his nephew in Toledo, said that he did not know how the page was removed from the passport, the complaint said. The passenger 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, the passenger invoked his right to remain silent, the complaint said.

He 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.

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