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Ohio officer says Jordanian tried to recruit him for terrorist cause

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio- A Jordanian man living in Ohio tried to recruit a Virginia police officer for a terrorist cause, the officer testified in a federal pre-sentence hearing for the suspect.

David Vazquez said Wednesday in federal court that Mohammed Radwan Obeid told him in an e-mail that he was helping to start an operation that would dwarf the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

Vazquez said he contacted Obeid through two Web sites and contacted the FBI after reading Obeid's e-mails.

Obeid, who worked as a cashier in Dayton before his arrest last March on immigration fraud charges, was indicted in October after telling FBI agents that he hadn't used the e-mail account.

He pleaded guilty in December to a felony count of knowingly and willfully making false material representation. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.

Reference librarian Laura Girolamo testified Wednesday that Obeid apparently sent e-mail about gun silencers and constructing hydrogen bombs on a computer at the Troy-Miami County Public Library. She contacted the FBI as well.

Obeid's lawyer, Shawn Kelly, challenged Vazquez's interpretation of the e-mail and said he doubted Girolamo could know for sure that Obeid sent the e-mails from the library.

Obeid's attorneys have argued that he visited terrorist Web sites because he was conducting research for a book about terrorism and world religions.

A federal immigration judge ordered Obeid's deportation in September, and he has not appealed the decision, said Elaine Komis, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Immigration officials said they believe Obeid entered the United States through marriage fraud. He married a Kansas City woman in Jordan and came to the United States in 2001, according to court papers. The marriage was annulled five months later.

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