Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: bomb

“Millennium Bomber” Receives 37-Year Prison Sentence

The Algerian native known as the “Millennium Bomber” was sentenced Wednesday, October 24, 2012, to 37 years in federal prison for his failed 1999 plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

The case was investigated by the special agents with the former U.S. Customs Service’s Office of Investigations, which is now part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the FBI.

Ahmed Ressam, 45, was arrested Dec. 14, 1999, as he attempted to enter the United States through the port of entry at Port Angeles, Wash. Ressam had traveled on a ferry fromVictoria,British Columbia,Canada, in a rental car. In the vehicle, he had bomb-making materials and powerful explosives. His plan was foiled after U.S. Customs inspectors grew suspicious of his nervous demeanor.

Following an 18-day trial in 2001, Ressam was convicted on multiple charges including: act of terrorism transcending a national boundary; placing an explosive in proximity to a terminal; using false identification documents; using a fictitious name for admission; making a false statement; smuggling; transporting explosives; possessing an unregistered explosive device; and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony.

Facing a possible sentence of 65 years to life in prison in early 2001, Ressam agreed to provide information to the United States and testify against others. However, he stopped providing information in 2003 and now claims that he was mentally incompetent when he provided the information.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012, prosecutors recommended a sentence that would keep Ressam incarcerated for life, noting that two key prosecutions have been dismissed because of his lack of cooperation. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour acknowledged that Ressam was “highly culpable and took substantial steps to carry out a horrific crime.” However in sentencing him to 37 years, the judge said a life sentence was too harsh and it was unlikely Ressam would be involved in another violent conspiracy.

In 2005, and in a second sentencing hearing in 2008, Judge Coughenour sentenced Ressam to 22 years in prison. Earlier this year the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case for resentencing, finding that the 22-year sentence was unreasonably low.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

Boston Man Arrested at LAX for Transporting Weapons, Hazardous Materials, and Body Bags on Flight

A body-armor-clad Boston man who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on a flight from Japan Friday, October 5, 2012, was expected to make his initial appearance in federal court the afternoon of Tuesday, October 9, 2012, on a charge of transporting hazardous materials after a search of his checked luggage turned up a smoke grenade, along with a hatchet, knives, other weapons, a gas mask, biohazard suits and body bags.

Yongda Huang Harris, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chinese descent, was referred for secondary inspection the afternoon of Friday, October 5, 2012, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at LAX after CBP officers observed he was wearing a bulletproof vest and flame retardant pants underneath his trench coat.

CBP officers alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, who responded and opened a formal investigation after CBP’s subsequent search of Harris’ checked luggage resulted in the discovery of numerous suspicious items. According to the HSI case affidavit, those items included a pyrotechnic smoke grenade, three leather-coated billy clubs, a collapsible baton, a full-face respirator, various knives, a hatchet, body bags, a biohazard suit, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs.

The case affidavit states that when a member of the Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad conducted an x-ray examination of the smoke grenade, it showed the device fell under the United Nations’ explosives shipping classification, meaning it is prohibited on board passenger aircraft. Depending on the conditions when it is ignited, the smoke grenade, made by Commando Manufacturers, could potentially fill the cabin of a commercial airplane with smoke or cause a fire.

HSI’s probe into the incident of Friday, October 5, 2012, is ongoing and investigators here are coordinating closely with HSI’s attach√© office in Tokyo. Officials say Harris, who makes his permanent home in Boston, has been living and working recently in Japan.

Harris is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of transporting hazardous materials. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

In addition to the Los Angeles Police Department, HSI received assistance with the case from the FBI.