Hanafi Muslim spokesman Abdul Aziz was indicted by a U.S. grand jury here yesterday on charges of illegally possessing a firearm after being convicted of two felonies.
The indictment of Aziz followed by one day his release on a $5,000 cash bond on the same charges and sets the stage for a trial on [WORD ILLEGIBLE] charges within 90 days.
The indictment also coincided with the arraignment in Prince George's County of three men arrested outside a Hanafi residence in Hyattsville on March 31.
The three men, charged with possession of knives and other weapons, also were informed by Prince George's County prosecutors that a special trial date will be set for them so all three will be tried at the same time.
Arraigned in the county were Timothy Phillip Parker, 26, of 222 Cromwell Ter. NE; Gilbert John DiFranza, 29, of 9404 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, and Steven Purcell Wright, 28, of 10713 Tenbrook Dr., Wheaton.
All three men were arrested in an alley next to a town house at 7967 18th Ave., in Hyattsville while agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco the Firearms were searching for illegal weapons at that address.
According to John Rowley, special agent in charge of the bureau's Washington district office, the three men apparently were forewarned of the raid at the Hyattsville residence and arrived carrying weapons to protect the house.
The three men arrived in a taxicab, according to court records, and were searched for weapons by county police after they left the cab.
County police found on the cab's front seat a dagger with a 7-inch blade inside a black sheath with a belt loop and in the trunk a sheath and machete, court documents showed.
Parker, who drove to the courthouse yesterday with the other defendants in a cab marked with his own name, has been charged with possession of a loaded shotgun and destruction of county property - a breathalizer he alleged threw to the floor in the police station after his arrest.
Difranza, also known as Abdul Salaam, has been charged with possession of a 38-inch length of chain and a knife with a 3-inch blade. A rogue and vagabond charge, which under Maryland law can be placed against a person found with a dangerous weapon, also was levied against him.
Difranza had worked for the last six months as a taxi driver for the Silver Spring Taxi Co., but was fired after his arrest, according to a company spokesman.
Wright, also charged with possessing a chain and knife, has been a George Washington University security guard since October, 1971, and still is employed there, according to a school personnel official.
Defense attorney Harry T. Alexander argued in Prince George's County yesterday that police had improperly seized a copy of the Koran, passports, birth and marriage certificates, a telephone book, greetin cards and other "Islamic material" from Difrana's Silver Spring residence. Alexander asked that they be returned.
Aziz's indictment in U.S. District Court involves his purchase of two firearms last fall despite his alleged record of felony convictions and a mental commitment.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica, and no date has been set for Aziz's arraignment. Aziz is scheduled to appear this morning before U.S. Magistrate Henry Kennedy for a preliminary hearing concerning his arrest last week on the same charge, but the indictment could block that hearing since the case now is technically assigned to Judge Sirica.
Aziz is the son-in-law of Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, leader of the local Hanafi sect.