Portland Man Who Trained in Lebanon Arrested
PORTLAND, Ore. – Police and federal agents arrested a Lebanese man on a weapons charge and in a subsequent search found two guns in his car and a calendar at his home with Sept. 11 highlighted, police Chief Mark Kroeker said Tuesday.
It was not clear whether the suspect had highlighted the date before or after the attacks on Sept. 11, or whether he had any links to the attacks, Kroeker said.
"The connections he has to any individuals or other groups are specifically off limits for me to discuss," Kroeker said.
Kroeker also said the suspect has told police he received training at Lebanese guerrilla camps, and that at the man's Portland home police found a plaque with the name "Hamas" — the guerrilla group that has been staging suicide bombings in Israel.
Kroeker also said the man is not on the list of 23 people in Portland whom federal authorities want to interview as part of the nationwide anti-terror investigation.
Kroeker identified the suspect as 39-year-old Ali Khaled Steitiye, and said he was arrested on Oct. 24 after after a gun dealer alerted police a man had tried to fraudulently buy an assault rifle from him.
Portland's joint terrorism task force — which consists of federal agents and city police — then placed the man under surveillance.
Investigators later searched the man's car and his home.
In the car, they found a fully loaded Russian-made 9mm pistol, a Romanian-made assault rifle, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a machete, Kroeker said.
At the suspect's southwest Portland home police found Social Security cards, credit cards and an immigration green card that are also believed to have been fraudulently obtained, Kroeker said.
Also found in the home was a calendar with the date Sept. 11 highlighted, the plaque with the word "Hamas," and $20,000 in cash, Kroeker said.
Steitiye has been an American citizen since last year, but is believed to have obtained his citizenship fraudulently, Kroeker said.
Steitiye was in federal custody at an undisclosed location, Kroeker said.