HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html FBI Probe Targeted Drugs, Not Terrorism
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Oct 2001
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2001 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: Maggie Mulvihill
Bookmark: (Terrorism)


A former Everett cabdriver stopped by Boston FBI agents in the 1990s
as a part of a global heroin probe provided officials with information
on Arab terrorists in the Boston area, but the agents' "focus" was on
drugs, according to a broadcast report last night.

Raed Hijazi, 32, an American citizen now awaiting trial in Jordan in a
foiled millennium terrorist plot, told FBI agents about "Arab
terrorists and sympathizers," but they were more interested in
whatever knowledge he had about heroin being brought into Boston via
Afghanistan, WCVB-TV reported last night.

Hijazi is an admitted member of al-Qaeda, the Islamic terrorist ring
founded by Osama bin Laden. Hijazi became a "willing informant" for
the Boston office of the FBI to avoid jail time on charges being
investigated by the agency's drug squad, the station reported, citing
a "high-level source."

A spokeswoman for the Boston office of the FBI declined to comment
specifically on the station's report that Hijazi was a confidential

"Based on (the station's) reporting, I would question the source's
reliability," said FBI Special Agent Gail Marcinkiewicz.

She said the FBI's drug squad routinely investigates all types of
narcotics networks, but she said she did not know specifically if
agents were probing an Afghan heroin ring linked to Boston in the 1990s.

Hijazi, who was born in California and attended business school there,
left Boston in 1998 after working in Everett for several years as a
cabdriver. He was arrested in Syria in October 2000 on charges he led
a ring of terrorists in a botched plan to blow up a hotel and other
sites expected to be filled with revelers celebrating the millennium
in Jordan.

Hijazi was tried in absentia in Jordan and sentenced to death, but
under Jordanian law he is now entitled to a new trial, which began in

Hijazi also told officials investigating the attempted millennium
bombing that he raised $13,000 while working as a cabdriver in Boston
and sent it to the Middle East to help fund other terrorists.

Hijazi reportedly told investigators his friend, another Boston cab
driver, Nabil al-Marabh, 34, was an al-Qaeda agent. Hijazi has denied
he made this claim.

Al-Marabh was arrested in Chicago last month by FBI agents probing the
Sept. 11 attack on America. Authorities believe al-Marabh had close
ties to at least two of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Authorities have also frozen al-Marabh's financial assets.
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