Called a U.S. government ‘fumble’ Money transfer charges dropped [Archives:2003/02/Local News]

January 13 2003

Federal officials dropped criminal complaints against six men accused of illegally sending as much as $50 million a year to Yemen, but they said the investigation was continuing.
Jim Dinkins, assistant agent in charge of the Customs Service probe, said new charges were expected “in the near future.”
The six men were arrested last month and accused of violating the Patriot Act of 2001 after federal agents seized records, computers and more than $200,000 from bank accounts during raids of businesses and homes thought to be part of illegal money transfer operations.
“Volumes of evidence was obtained at the original arrests,” which investigators are using to revise their claims against the men, Dinkins told the Detroit Free Press for Wednesday’s editions.
After a nine-month investigation, raids conducted Dec. 18 in Dearborn and Detroit resulted in charges against six men: Gamil Manea Ahmed Al-Najar, 26; David Nasser Ali, 40; Foiad Hussain Mohammad, 25; Mohammad Aidaros Abdulla, 62; Abdulla Hassan Mohamed, 31; and Hussein Ahmed Mohamed, 65. They were later released on $10,000 unsecured bonds.
The arrests had been announced the same day as five brothers, including one who was already in custody, were charged in Dallas with laundering money and selling computer equipment to Syria and Libya. Arraignment for at least four of the brothers was scheduled for Friday.
Arab-American activists defended the transfers as a decades-old practice common in immigrant communities of sending money home to poor relatives. They said the prosecution reflects overzealous efforts to target Arab immigrants.
The dismissal of the charges is “basically another fumble by the government,” Nabih Ayad, an attorney who often represents Arab nationals and Arab Americans in criminal matters, told The Detroit News.