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Feds say man spoke of radio-controlled plane bombs

Tuesday - 4/8/2014, 6:40pm  ET

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- A Moroccan man in Connecticut who allegedly expressed interest in using remote-controlled airplanes to bomb a school and a federal building has been arrested by the FBI and detained without bail, federal authorities said Tuesday.

The FBI arrested 27-year-old El Mehdi Semlali Fathi on Monday on immigration-related charges, said Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Fathi spoke on recorded conversations about a desire to bomb an out-of-state school and a federal building in Connecticut, according to an FBI affidavit that does not specify the exact locations of the potential targets. His intentions are still under investigation, the affidavit said.

His federal public defender, Paul Thomas, declined to comment Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press.

Fathi, who lives in Bridgeport, spoke in Arabic in the conversations in which he said he would use toy airplanes to deliver the bombs and he had been studying the operation for months, according to the FBI. He allegedly said the money would come from laundered money and drug-dealing profits.

Fathi appeared Monday in federal court in Bridgeport, where Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel granted prosecutors' request to detain Fahti without bail, the Connecticut Post reported.

Authorities charged Fahti with immigration-related crimes including making a false statement, falsely swearing under oath and falsifying declarations to a federal immigration judge. Officials said Fahti stayed in the U.S. for seven years after his student visa expired after flunking out of Virginia International University.

Fahti was facing deportation to Morocco and made the false statements while seeking political asylum in the U.S., authorities said.


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