A 28-year-old Muslim from India has been taken into custody in Rhode Island after a truck driving school became suspicious of his efforts to obtain a license to drive trucks with hazardous material. Upon appearing in court today in Boston to answer immigration charges, Mohammed Yusef Mullawala was denied bond pending a removal hearing scheduled for next Tuesday, Jan. 30. Federal Immigration Judge Matthew D’Angelo said he found Mullawala’s court responses not to be creditable and ruled that he posed a danger to the community and was himself a flight risk.
Rhode Island State Police said Mohammed Yusef Mullawala came to the United States on a student visa but never attended classes at three separate schools he said he was going to attend.
Instructors at the Nationwide Tractor Trailer Driving School in Smithfield, R.I., became suspicious when Mullawala showed up last November. "He kept saying he wanted a HAZMAT license, and he wanted it quickly and that he did not want to learn to back the truck up, only to be able to drive it forward," said Darleen Crawford, president of the driving school, who reported her concerns to Highway Watch, a national Homeland Security program for highway safety and anti-terrorism. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Rhode Island State Police Major Steven O’Donnell said Mullawala’s phone records revealed calls that were "suspicious" and "problematic," but he would not provide further details. Mullawala’s attorney Jeff Rubin defended his client today, saying, "My client absolutely denies any terrorist activity at all. This is just mere suspicion, paranoia and profiling."