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Afghan held on terrorism charges

May 24, 2003


NEW YORK, May 23: The FBI arrested a New York City cab driver on Tuesday after he allegedly tried to buy explosives enough to blow up a mountain.

The Afghan national, Sayed Abdul Malike, 43, was ordered held without bail on Wednesday at an arraignment in federal court in New York.

The police said Malike was arrested on Tuesday following an investigation by a terrorism task force, though prosecutors made no allegations of terrorism in the charges. He was charged with making false statements and drug possession, and could face up to six years in prison if convicted.

The investigation of Malike, a legal US resident from Afghanistan, began in March when a store owner in Queens reported that the defendant was seeking information on how to make a bomb, police here said.

Later that month, Malike travelled to Miami, where he took a sightseeing trip around the port, according to court documents. A tourist boat captain later reported that the defendant, while shooting video, asked about “the infrastructure of bridges ... and about how close the boat could get to the bridges and cruise ships.”

Malike also allegedly wanted to buy bulletproof vests, night vision goggles and Valium. Authorities said he was arrested after buying 100 Valium pills.