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Third Muslim student arrested at USF on weapons charges in explosives investigation

December 30, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: New developments in USF students explosives investigation

Tampa, Florida - For the third time in months, the University of South Florida is taking a hit for housing three students with alleged terrorist ties.

"There [might] be others that may be involved in this thing too, that we don't even know about today," said retired FBI agent Oscar Westerfield.

Now the recent arrest of Karim Moussaoui is raising eyebrows. According to a USF police report, Moussaoui got a written warning for trespassing at the Embassy Suites on campus, just one day before his arrest by the FBI.

Hotel Security Director Robert Forteau told police he was patrolling the parking lot around 2 a.m. when he saw Moussaoui milling around. When he approached Moussaoui, that's when the situation escalated.

The report goes on to say Moussaoui was verbally abusive, called Forteau the "n-word" and refused to leave the parking lot. By the time USF police intervened, Moussaoui was gone.

They tracked him down on campus, but his name didn't turn up on any watch lists, so they let him go.

"The officer couldn't take any action at that time," said USF Police spokesperson Lt. Meg Ross.

We called his attorney Steve Crawford for answers, but he claims he doesn't know anything about the incident.

Westerfield says it's possible something was about to go down.

"That to me seems the most plausible for that kind of erratic behavior," he said.

Moussaoui, a Moccoran foreign-national, was studying computing engineering on a student visa.

The FBI arrested him on weapons charges on December 13th, just days before his college graduation.

"What the graduation arrest meant is he was getting close to leaving the country," Westerfield said.

But that didn't happen. He's out of jail on bond, wearing an ankle monitor and awaiting a grand jury trial.

Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed were arrested in South Carolina in July for alleged possession of pipe bomb materials.

Authorities say Moussaoui faces charges for illegally firing weapons at a local gun range with Megahed and Mohamed.

Alexandra Hackett, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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