Ahmadullah Sais Niazi’s web of deceit goes back a number of years. But it looks like his lies have finally caught up with him. “Man with possible tie to bin Laden is arrested,” by Salvador Hernandez for the Orange County Register, February 20:
TUSTIN A local man lied to obtain citizenship, a U.S. passport, and about a trip to Pakistan in 2005 — information he is believed to have falsified to hide alleged connections to terrorists and terrorist organizations abroad, authorities said.
Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, a 34-year-old man from Tustin who was born in Afghanistan, was taken into custody by federal authorities this morning in the 13000 block of Charloma Drive, officials said.
He is facing several charges, ranging from perjury to naturalization fraud, misuse of a passport obtained by fraud and making a false statement to a federal agency. Court documents also show that Niazi and his wife, Jamilah Amin, had been investigated by federal authorities since at least June 2008, for several suspicious financial transactions in the Unites States and financial transfers to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
While Niazi is not facing any terrorism-related charges, officials said he made several false statements to cover up what they allege are connections to organizations such as al-Qaida, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin and the Taliban.
According to a federal indictment unsealed today, Niazi hid his alleged connections with terrorist groups when he applied for residency, citizenship and a U.S. passport. The arrest comes after months of investigation conducted by the Orange County Joint Terrorist Task Force, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI.
According to the unsealed indictment, on Feb. 24, 2004, Niazi lied in his naturalization application by not stating other names he used in the past and lying about being associated with terrorist organizations.
“In truth, and in fact, as defendant Niazi then well knew, he was associated with one or more terrorist organizations, namely al-Qaeda, HIG, and/or the Taliban,” the indictment reads.
In 2005, Niazi is also believed to have traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Dr. Amin al-Haq, who has been identified by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control as a global terrorist, according to officials. Al-Haq, according to the indictment, is believed to be Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator.
Niazi identified al-Haq as his sister’s husband. According to the search warrant affidavit, al-Haq was a member of the Afghan mujahedeen who fought the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Niazi said his family disapproved of his sister’s marriage and that he knew al-Haq was a member of Hezb-e-Islami, but that he didn’t know if he was a member of al-Qaeda.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney”s Office, said he could not comment on why Niazi would have met with al-Haq. […]
Federal agents had searched Niazi’s home before in June 2008, where authorities seized several documents that showed that he and his wife used an unlicensed money-transfer system to make several transfers totaling $16,400 to Peshawar, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan, between 1999 and 2006, according to a search warrant affidavit.
According to the affidavit, more than $30,000 was also deposited to the couple’s bank account in a five-month period beginning in Sept. 2007. Niazi was currently involved a company named California Food Channel, which distributed fruits, nuts and berries from overseas to California markets, but his compensation was not made in cash.
Authorities also investigated transactions between Niazi’s account and another accounts under the names of his wife and his in-laws, accounts that investigators believe showed a pattern of transactions made to evade Currency Transaction Reports, which financial institutions must make when transactions greater than $10,000 are made. One of those accounts showed that almost $600,000 was deposited into one account in about a year’s time — almost a third of it was made in cash.
The indictment also alleges that Niazi lied about a two-week trip he took to Pakistan in May 2004.When he returned from Pakistan, Niazi is alleged to have said that he had traveled to Qatar to visit family.
If convicted, Niazi faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in jail.