A Jordanian-born man was arrested by federal authorities in Albuquerque yesterday and charged with storing enough illegal explosives in a locker in Alexandria "to destroy one city block."
Abdul-Hafiz Mohammed Nassar, 29, was arrested by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI, and charged with possession of a "nonregistered destructive device," a federal felony.
FBI spokesman Al Hein said the 95 sticks of industrial grade explosive were found last May in locker No. 134, which Nassar had rented the previous Seot. 8 at the Self-Storage Service Corp., 4551 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria.
John Shone, company vice president, opened the locker because the rent was overdue and discovered the cache, which also included blasting caps, batteries and three walkie-talkies.
FBI analysts concluded that "the explosives seized are the essential components for the construction of an improvised explosive device which could be detonated by use of radio signals by the walkie-talkie equipment."
The affidavit issued by the FBI states that Nassar's 1979 Volvo had been ticketed on the same day he rented the locker for being parked in a tour bus space "within the immediate vicinity of the White House."
"We just know he had the explosives and put them into his locker, but we can't see into his mind," Hein said.
Virginia State Police detonated part of the explosive and said it was enough to "destroy one city block," according to the affidavit.
FBI officials said Nassar entered the United States legally in 1973 and was close to obtaining citizenship.