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May 13, 2010
Federal authorities have arrested three men living in the greater Boston area in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing, Fox News has learned.
Photo: Faisal Shahzad
FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Thursday morning executed search warrants in "several locations in the Northeast," a statement from ICE said.
At least one of the federal raids was in Watertown, Mass., a Boston suburb. Search warrants related to the case were also executed in New Jersey and on Long Island in New York.
Authorities are looking into whether the Boston-area men, at least two of them from Pakistan, and others may have had any role in the Times Square plot or any prior knowledge of it.
"These raids are the logical next step in the investigation, after gathering preliminary information to ascertain where money may have come from," one source said. "We're trying to figure out where [the main suspect] got money from, and these are potential sources of that money."
But, the source said, the Boston-area men may have "unwittingly assisted in some capacity." In fact, the source said, the main suspect in the case, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, may have duped the men into providing money, but authorities are not ruling out anything at this point.
The searches are "the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation subsequent to the attempted Times Square bombing," ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in the statement.
Specifically, one source said, the search warrants are the product of information obtained through interrogations of Shahzad, who has now been charged with five federal offenses, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Officials said the searches "do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States."
The Boston-area men have been arrested on "administrative charges," which means federal authorities will not advise them of Miranda rights to question them, as is required in criminal cases.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have criticized the Obama administration for "Mirandizing" suspects during several recent terrorism investigations.
One of the men arrested Thursday has been charged with overstaying his visa, and another, identified as Pir Khan, has been charged with staying in the country despite an order of removal, according to one source. The third man was also arrested for alleged immigration violations, a source said.
In a 2002 case in South Carolina, a Pakistani man named Pirdad Khan was ordered to leave the United States after pleading guilty to entering the United States illegally and "concealment of facts."
It's unclear if the 2002 case is related to the latest arrests.
Federal authorities have not ruled out bringing criminal charges against the Boston-area men in the future.
Asked whether any more arrests could be expected on Thursday, one law enforcement official declined to comment.
"We will use every resource available to make sure that anyone found responsible, whether they be in the United States or overseas, is held accountable," Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers on Thursday. "This is an on-going investigation and ... we are actively pursuing all those who were involved in it."