Students Indicted on Explosives Charges

The two men were originally pulled over for speeding in South Carolina Aug. 4.

ByPIERRE THOMAS, JASON RYAN, JACK DATE and THERESA COOK
January 8, 2009, 1:05 AM

Aug. 31, 2007 — -- Two Egyptian engineering students arrested on a South Carolina highway earlier this month have been indicted on federal explosives charges.

The indictment, returned by a grand jury in the middle district of Florida, charges Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed, both students at the University of South Florida, with transporting "commercial explosive materials" across state lines without a permit or license to do so.

Mohamed faces an additional charge for allegedly demonstrating the use of explosives "with the intent that such teaching, demonstration and information be used for, and in the furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence."

The charges stem from an Aug. 4 arrest in Goose Creek, S.C., in which a deputy sheriff allegedly discovered explosive materials in the defendants' car after stopping them for speeding. The pair have been held on state charges in the Berkeley County, S.C., jail since their arrest.

Law enforcement sources tell ABC News that Mohamed had information on car bombs and distributed the information via YouTube to instruct others on bomb making, a possible violation of terrorism statutes.

FBI officials say they've reviewed Mohamed and Megahed's phone and computer records, but have not found any evidence that ties the two to terrorist groups or a specific plot. Authorities tell ABC News they found a small amount of potassium nitrate, a bomb-making chemical, in the trunk of the suspects' car when they were stopped in South Carolina.

Reginald I. Lloyd, the U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, praised the cooperation of the local law enforcement agencies involved.

"I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism of our local law enforcement partners in this important investigation," said Lloyd. "The arresting deputy's vigilance and the immediate response of our local investigators and prosecutors are highly commendable."

The charges would bring stiff penalties for the suspects if they are convicted. They could face a maximum 20-year sentence for the charge of distributing information on explosives, and up to 10 years in prison for the transporting explosive materials charge.

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