Egyptian restaurant manager of 'Exotic Bites' in Hollywood FL nabbed for alcohol violation is terror suspect - updates
Police Captain Rode : "What is it with South Florida that all the terrorist suspects come here?"
MIM: Even more alarming than the inadvertent nabbing of another terrorism suspect in Hollywood, Florida who was 'hiding in plain sight' as a restaurant manager ( in the same town where Mohammed Atta had lived and directly across from the Shuckums bar where the hijackers 'partied' the night before 9/11) , is the incredulous reaction of Mayor Maya Giulenti who said:
"Why would you play your music that loud and bring attention to yourself? You wonder what kind of significant threat they are."..."You don't expect someone like that to be living in the community," Guilianti said. "I certainly hope this is the last one."
It appears that mayor Giulenti has forgotten that on the night before the 9/11 attacks Mohammed Atta drew attention to himself in a Hollywood Shuckum's restaurant, when he shouted " There is no money issue, I am an airline pilot" during a dispute over the bill.
"...Last Friday night Atta, Al-Shehhi and a third man spent hours drinking and playing video games at Shuckums, a Hollywood, Fla., sports bar. Atta played video Trivial Pursuit and blackjack with great determination. "He looked nervous," manager Tony Amos said. "He kept putting dollars in and he was really focused."
Al-Shehhi and the other man had about five drinks each, he said - - Captain Morgan rum and Coke, and Stolichnaya vodka and orange juice. At one point they argued. "There were a lot of hand gestures and Al-Shehhi was definitely upset," Amos said.
The bartender feared that Al-Shehhi might leave without paying his $48 tab. The manager intervened, asking if there was a problem. Al-Shehhi, glaring, pulled out a wad of cash and said: "There is no money issue. I am an airline pilot.'..."http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A38026-2001Sep15¬Found=true
In addition Hollywood and vicinity has played host to terrorists such as Jose Padilla, Adnan Shukrijumah, Adham Hassoun, Imran Mandi, Shueyb Moessa Jokhan, and continues to be home to countless others. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/257
Hopefully, Mayor Giulenti and other city officials will pay more attention to the ongoing terrorism threat in their community then to the inevitable wails of victimisation and threats of discrimination lawsuits from groups which groups like the Council of American Islamic Relations, (a Saudi fronted front group for Hamas, which is als a defendant in a 9/11 terrorism lawsuit), will be making in reaction to the arrest of Mahmoud Ebaid.
Update: Ebaid, who has been in this country for 20 years, was "red flagged" on a terror watchlist and is being held on a visa violation. It is interesting to note that his resturant, which is "within eyeshot" of the Shuckums visited by the 9/11 hijackers, was opened in the week of the 9/11 attacks.
(In addition to being the registered agent for the Exotic Bites restaurant Ebaid's wife, Maria Flores, also registered two other businesses in 2004 neither of which was active.
One,the Young Circle Tabacco Shop, and is on the same street as the restaurant which Ebaid managed.The second was called the Harrison Street Fish and Chips Plus Inc.)
MIM: Information will be updated.
Latest reports show that Mamdouh Ebaid's also goes by the name Mandoah Ebaid and also used the last name Basyouny. He had a previous violation involving marijuana possession but the charges are dropped. His lawyer refused to specify the immigration violation charges against him.
Booze bust nets terror suspect
It was supposed to be a normal police undercover operation: Look for alcohol being sold after hours in a downtown restaurant.
Instead, Hollywood police wound up with a restaurant manager suspected of being a member of a terrorist organization. "Who would have thought that we'd end up with an alleged terrorist?" said Capt. Tony Rode.
The arrest came about when Hollywood police began checking out a tip that Exotic Bites, a downtown restaurant, was selling alcohol after hours.
On a recent evening, two undercover officers walked inside the Middle Eastern restaurant at 1840 S. Young Circle.
It features belly dancers, hookahs -- 3-foot-tall water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco -- and homemade dishes including falafel, tabbouleh and baba ghanoush.
Two uniformed officers stood watch outside.
The intention was to catch employees serving drinks after hours. The club's liquor license allows it to serve drinks until 2 a.m.
The officers spotted manager Mamdouh M. Ebaid, 44, serving alcohol at 2:18 a.m. They also watched as he filled orders to two young people who turned out to be minors.
When the two youths left the restaurant, the uniformed officers asked for IDs. The boys were 16 and 17, said Hollywood police's Rode.
Cops moved in. Ebaid, of Hollywood, was cited for serving alcohol after hours to minors -- two misdemeanors.
When they ran his name through national databases, they discovered that Ebaid's name had been flagged as having suspected ties to a terrorist organization.
No information was provided on which terrorist group his name was linked to.
Hollywood alerted the FBI. Border Patrol agents picked up Ebaid early Sunday and transported him to the Krome Detention Center in West Miami-Dade.
Authorities said that Ebaid, an Egyptian national, may have an immigration problem, but they did not provide details.
Ebaid called WFOR CBS-4 late Wednesday and said he was being targeted by Hollywood police.
"I am not a member of any terrorist group," he said to CBS-4. "I never have been."
He said his wife is an American citizen. Records show his wife, Maria Flores, is listed as the restaurant's registered agent.
"We're doing everything we can to find out what is going on," said Ebaid's attorney, Ralph Kenol of Hollywood. "I saw him yesterday and he gave no indication that he knew of any red flags. We're not aware of the FBI's interest in him. All we want is for everyone to be fair and being fair is important." Records show Ebaid arrived in the United States on July 17, 1984. He has worked at the restaurant for two years.
Co-workers say he has two children, a boy and a girl, co-workers said.
"He has never ever said or done anything that would indicate he was a terrorist," said Quintin Rodriguez, a chef at Exotic Bites. "He is a nice guy, a decent guy. I think they're just doing this because he's an Egyptian."
Exotic Bites is just a couple of blocks from the site of Shuckums, a raw bar on Hollywood's Harrison Street, that attracted several of the hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.
Five of the 19 men responsible for the attack, lived in Hollywood at one time prior to Sept. 11.
"What is it with Hollywood and South Florida that all the terrorists come here?" Rode said. "Seems like they're always down here."
Chief James Scarberry sent a memo to Hollywood Commissioners alerting them of the arrest.
Hollywood Mayor Mara Guilianti said she had been lobbied recently to allow the owner to create a bigger restaurant at Exotic Bites.
She said she paid a visit to the club around 3:30 a.m. one morning to check it out.
"They were the loudest, bar none," the mayor said. "Why would you play your music that loud and bring attention to yourself? You wonder what kind of significant threat they are."
Guilianti said this is the second time Hollywood police have assisted the government with terrorists.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the city located the address where Mohammed Atta was living with several other terrorists.
"You don't expect someone like that to be living in the community," Guilianti said. "I certainly hope this is the last one."
Federal investigators plan to question Ebaid at Krome this week.
Herald news partner WFOR CBS-4 and Herald staff writers Jerry Berrios and Alfonso Chardy contributed to this report
Hollywood resturant manager on terror watchlist
Police said Thursday a 44-year-old resident cited last week on misdemeanor charges of selling drinks to underage patrons at a chic Young Circle restaurant is on a federal terrorist watch list.
Since then, Ebaid, an Egyptian, was picked up by the Border Patrol and is being held by federal authorities.
Hollywood resturateur on terrorist list is held on visa violation
By Robert Nolin
Fla. restaurant manager held ;name on terror list
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The manager of a Middle Eastern restaurant, originally arrested for local liquor violations, was being held Thursday by federal immigration authorities after his name matched one on a terrorist watch list.
The FBI and U.S. immigration agents are investigating whether Mamdouh M. Ebaid, 44, has any connection to terrorism. Ebaid, who has also used the name Mandoah Ebaid, was being held on visa violations at the Krome Detention Center near Miami, where he was taken shortly after his Feb. 26 arrest in Hollywood.
"He's being held on administrative immigration violations and the investigation is continuing," said Dean Boyd, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington.
Ebaid, an Egyptian national who runs the Exotic Bites restaurant and has been in the United States since 1984, called Miami's WFOR-TV on Wednesday to proclaim his innocence.
"I am not a member of any terrorist group," Ebaid told the station, according to WFOR. "I never have been."
No one answered the telephone at the restaurant Thursday afternoon. Ebaid's attorney, Ralph Kenol, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Ebaid was originally arrested on misdemeanor alcoholic beverage violations for allegedly selling two Hollywood undercover police officers drinks after the city's 2 a.m. time limit and for allegedly selling drinks to two patrons under age 21. Both violations are usually punishable by fines.
Hollywood police Detective Carlos Negron said Ebaid's name turned up on "a current terror watch list" after it was routinely entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database.
"We don't know if he has any connections to any terrorist groups. His name was on the list and that raised a red flag," Negron said.
The federal government's terror watch lists are drawn from a variety of sources, from foreign intelligence collected by the CIA to uncorroborated tips from local police informants. One common difficulty is determining if a person being detained is the same as the one on the list.
Miami FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela declined comment on the case.
The restaurant is near an oyster bar called Shuckums that was patronized by several of the Sept. 11 hijackers prior to those terrorist attacks. Five of the 19 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, lived in Hollywood during part of their time in the United States.
"A coincidence," Negron said.