Federal agents arrest Saudi traveler with altered passport and pressure cooker
Federal agents over the weekend arrested a Saudi Arabian man at Detroit Metro Airport who brought a pressure cooker with him on a flight from Amsterdam.
Hussain Al Khawahir, 33, raised suspicion after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers noticed a page in his passport had been torn out. After searching his luggage, the officers found a pressure cooker.
Khawahir told the officers that he brought the pressure cooker for a nephew at the University of Toledo. But he later 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,” the criminal complaint against Khawahir said.
The Saudi man was charged Monday with making a false statement and knowingly using an altered Saudi Arabian passport with missing pages.
Pressure cookers were used to create the two explosive devices that killed three people at the Boston Marathon last month. Pressure cookers filled with explosives and metal shrapnel have been used by militants in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
Law enforcement officers have been on increased alert following the Boston bombing. Another Saudi man was reportedly questioned by the FBI in Michigan over the weekend after neighbors saw him carrying a pressure cooker. He told police he was using the pressure cooker to make a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish called kabsah at a friend’s house.
[Image via James Tourtellotte, Creative Commons licensed]