Monday, September 11, 2006

A native of Yemen tried to board a plane with a knife hidden in a phone book

Niraj Warikoo:

The FBI is investigating the case of a 21-year-old Hamtramck man with a one-way ticket to Yemen who, according to officials, tried to board a plane at Metro Airport with a knife hidden in a phone book.

Mohammed Ghanem, a native of Yemen, remains in the Wayne CountyJail after a Romulus judge set a $500,000 bond on Saturday.

Ghanem was stopped Thursday by Detroit Metro security officials in the Transportation Security Administration after they detected that he had a knife "artfully concealed" in a book, said airport spokesman Michael Conway.

Someone had carved out the inside of the phone book, and placed the knife inside it, said Ghanem's attorney, Nabih Ayad. "He said he didn't know where the knife came from," Ayad said. Ghanem was on his way to Yemen to get married, he said.

On Saturday, Ghanem was arraigned in Romulus District Court on a felony charge of having a weapon in the area of an airport. If convicted, he could receive 10 years in prison.

One concern among officials is that the man had a one-way ticket to Yemen, Conway said.

Ghanem was born in Yemen and is a legal permanent resident of the United States, Ayad said. He works as a busboy in a coney island in metro Detroit.

Ghanem lives in Hamtramck with family members, some of whom have been questioned by the FBI, Ayad said.

According to Ayad, it appeared that the cover of the phone book was torn off. Someone then cut out a section, slipped in the knife, and replaced the cover.

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