Immigration Officials In Seattle Detain Saudi
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 29, 2004; Page A08
SEATTLE, July 28 -- Federal immigration authorities have detained a Saudi citizen who works as a computer security specialist here at the University of Washington's School of Nursing.
In connection with the arrest, federal agents seized several computers and examined Internet servers at the nursing school, said an employee at the school who asked not to be identified.
Majid Almassari, 34, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was detained in Seattle on July 17 on charges that he is in the country illegally, according to Lori Haley, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"It is an ongoing investigation," she said, declining to provide other details.
On the morning of Almassari's detention, several federal agents arrived at his office on the fourth floor of the university's Health Sciences Building, the nursing school employee said. Agents told the staff to leave the area and then seized several computers, the employee said.
A spokesman for the university declined to comment on whether computers were seized from the nursing school.
Almassari has worked at the nursing school for about three years, said Norman G. Arkans, the university spokesman. He said Almassari's responsibilities included administration of the school's computer network, trouble-shooting problems and writing security patches.
Federal authorities told the university that Almassari's detention is "related to a visa violation for drug issues that he has had," Arkans said.
In an unrelated arrest in Texas, federal authorities are investigating whether a South African woman who tried to board a flight near the U.S.-Mexico border has ties to terrorist groups, the Associated Press reported.
Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, 48, was arrested July 19 and charged with illegal entry into the United States, falsifying information and falsifying a passport. She was denied bond Tuesday by a federal magistrate.
Ahmed was arrested as she tried to board a flight for New York and could not show a valid visa in her mutilated passport, an FBI affidavit said.
Kyle Welch, Ahmed's attorney, said his client is not charged with any terrorist activity and does not have a criminal record.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company