Three Texas Muslims charged with plot to blow up Michigan's McKenzie bridge -found with 1,000 cell phones in minivan
August 13, 2006
AP August 13, 2006
Three Texas men were arraigned yesterday on terrorism-related charges after police found about 1,000 cell phones in their minivan.Investigators believe the men were targeting the 5-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. But one of the men said they were only trying to buy and sell phones. A magistrate set bond at $750,000 for each of the men, who are charged with collecting or providing materials for terrorist acts and surveillance of a vulnerable target for terrorist purposes. No pleas were made at the arraignment at a District Court in Caro, about 80 miles north of Detroit. Officials have not said what they believe the men intended to do with the phones, most of which were prepaid TracFones. But Caro's police chief said cell phones can be used as detonators. "All we did is buy the phones to sell and make money," Louai Abdelhamied Othman told the magistrate. He said it wasn't the first time the group had been questioned. "We've been checked by the FBI before," he said. Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark E. Reene and the FBI did not return phone calls yesterday from the Associated Press. Othman and Maruan Awad Muhareb, both of Mesquite, Texas, and Adham Abdelhamid Othman of Dallas were stopped before dawn Friday after they purchased 80 cell phones from a Wal-Mart in Caro. Police said they found about 1,000 cell phones in the men's minivan. The men cooperated with police and the FBI before their arrests Friday afternoon. Adham and Louai Othman are in their early 20s, and Muhareb is 18. All are being held at the Tuscola County Jail, Caro police said. Defense lawyers said Houssaiky and Abulhassan were targeted only because they are of Arab descent.