Windsor police have helped to arrest one of three Ontario men believed to have connections to a radical Sunni Islam leader who died in a shootout in Detroit, CBC News has learned.
Mujahid Carswell, 30, was taken into custody in Windsor at about 1 p.m. Thursday without incident, according to Deputy Police Chief Jerome Brannagan.
Police arrested Carswell downtown, in the 500 block of Church Street, Brannagan said.
The Canada Border Services Agency detained him for immigration violations and he was later turned over to the FBI.
Carswell was one of three men wanted by the FBI. The others are:
- Mohammad Al-Sahli, 33, a resident of Ontario, also known as Mohammad Palestine or Mohammad Philistine.
- Yassir Ali Khan, 30, who has two addresses in Windsor.
The three men are facing charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
"These individuals do have lengthy felony records," said Andrew Arena, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Detroit. "There's some radical, very extreme views of the Muslim faith … there's some black separatist views."
Carswell is the biological son of the man who was killed, Luqman Ameen Abdullah — who is also identified as Christopher Thomas — who the FBI alleges was advocating and encouraging his followers at the Al-Haqq mosque to commit violent acts against the U.S.
"Abdullah has espoused the use of violence against law enforcement, and has trained members of his group in use of firearms and martial arts in anticipation of some type of action against the government," the FBI said in a joint release with the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Abdullah and other members of this group were known to carry firearms and other weapons."
Abdullah's group, Ummah, is made up mostly of African-American converts to Islam who want to establish a separate Islamic state in the U.S. controlled by their leader, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, also known as H. Rap Brown, a veteran of the black power movement in the 1960s who is serving a life sentence for shooting two police officers in Georgia in 2000.
FBI agents and local police officers conducted a series of raids on Detroit homes and a suburban warehouse on Wednesday following a two-year investigation into Abdullah, 53, and his followers, officials said.
Police approached the warehouse Abdullah was in and attempted to arrest him on charges that included illegal possession and sale of firearms. Abdullah refused to surrender, fired a weapon and was killed when agents returned fire, said FBI officials. An FBI dog died in the incident.
Ten of Abdullah's associates — including the three believed to be Ontarians — are facing several federal crimes including theft from interstate shipments, mail fraud to obtain the proceeds of arson, illegal possession and sale of firearms, and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers.
Connections to Ontario
A criminal complaint written by FBI special agent Gary Leone, which was unsealed Wednesday, makes several allegations about the three Ontario men, based partly on statements made by a confidential FBI source.
According to Leone's complaint, Carswell told the source he lived in Windsor, two blocks from the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, and taught martial arts to about 60 children at a local mosque. Carswell is also "known to carry a .40-calibre handgun," the complaint says.
The source told Leone that Philistine also resides in Windsor and is considered by Abdullah to be "'a soldier and a warrior,'" according to the complaint.
Yassir Ali Khan is an associate of Philistine, the complaint says.
All three men took part in an elaborate scheme to sell laptop computers stolen in the U.S. to buyers in Canada on various dates in March, April and May 2009, the complaint says.
However, the scheme was an undercover FBI operation.
Based on that operation, each man now faces a charge of conspiracy to commit federal crimes, including the sale or receipt of stolen goods transported in interstate commerce, a violation of section 371 of the U.S. Code.