My, Memphis has changed
FBI agents on an immigration marriage scam case stumble into something more sinister: jihad. “Cell Mates? While investigating a Memphis-Morocco marriage scam, FBI agents find hidden weapons, $34,000 in cash, passports, and a gruesome Arabic videotape,” from the Memphis Flyer, with thanks to Miss Moneypenney:
On April 4th, nine FBI agents executed a search warrant at the Raleigh home of a convicted felon named Rafat Jamal Mawlawi, a Syrian with dual citizenship in the United States. Mawlawi is suspected of organizing a scam to illegally bring Moroccan men into the United States by arranging sham marriages and engagements to women from Memphis.
What the FBI found was much more troubling: a hidden stash of loaded weapons and ammunition clips, $34,000 in cash, two pictures of Mawlawi shouldering a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a gruesome videotape of war casualties with Arabic text and voiceover, and more than 20 passports to Morocco, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries.…
Mawlawi, 54, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who served in the Navy for 12 years. He is also a citizen of his native Syria. He had a criminal record before being indicted last week. According to Memphis FBI spokesman George Bolds, in 1994, he was convicted on a felony count of fraud in California and did jail time. In 1993, records show he was arrested in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but the charges were dismissed. Mawlawi failed to show up for an extradition hearing following one of his arrests and was picked up by authorities when he reentered the United States at JFK International Airport in New York. Records show that occurred in 1993.
It is not clear how long he has been living in Memphis. His one-story, brown brick house is on a corner lot three blocks from Craigmont High School. Since moving to Memphis Mawlawi had preached and conducted Muslim prayers with inmates at the Shelby County Penal Farm. He apparently came to the attention of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force because of an inmate named Andre Dotson, serving time on a charge of aggravated robbery. Dotson wrote the FBI that he had evidence of a marriage scam and said Mawlawi had tried to recruit him….
Agents also found two pictures of Mawlawi shouldering a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. In one of them, the end-cap is removed so that the weapon is ready to fire. Mawlawi said the pictures were taken when he was in Bosnia in 1996 and 1997 working as an English teacher.
Also found was a videotape which starts with the words “al Mujahadeen” and pictures of a firearm. The voiceover is in Arabic, Parker said. The word “mujahadeen” has come into common use in news reports since the onset of the war in Iraq. It is variously translated as “those engaged in jihad,” “holy warriors,” “Islamic warriors,” and “soldiers of God.” The video shows graphic images of dead people with injuries “that appear to be from combat wounds,” Parker said. Mawlawi does not appear on the tape. Videotapes of war casualties, beheadings, and other gruesome scenes are readily available via the Internet….
Long distance information, get me Memphis, Tennessee…He did not leave his number but I know who placed the call…’Cause he took his rocket launcher and blasted out my wall…