Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, were charged in a 23-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Bowling Green, KY on May 26, 2011. Alwan is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs); attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al Qaeda in Iraq; as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles. Hammadi is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as conspiracy to transfer, possess, and export Stinger missiles.

Alwan was the target of a federal investigation since Septemeber of 2009. Hammadi wasn’t targeted until January of 2011. Both were set up in a sting operation and arrested on May 25, 2011. Many of the allegations against the two defendants were discovered by federal agents when they began using a confidential human source who met with and engaged in recorded conversations with the defendants. Alwan allegedly discussed his prior activities as an insurgent in Iraq from 2003 until his capture by Iraqi authorities in May 2006. The FBI was subsequently able to identify two latent fingerprints belonging to Alwan on a component of an unexploded IED that was recovered in Iraq. Hammadi also allegedly discussed with the informant his prior experience as an insurgent in Iraq.

Alwan entered the United States in April 2009 and Hammadi in July 2009.

Justice officials have stated that the “dismantling of terrorist networks is the first priority of . . . the Department of Justice.” The government uses well coordinated efforts by the FBI, local law enforcement, and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to effectively pursue and prosecute terrorists in the United States. Not only have these two individuals been charged with crimes committed in Iraq, both were allegedly still supporting al-Qaeda from the United States by facilitating the transfer of money and weapons into Iraq. Alwan also drafted instructions for the construction and use of IEDs in Iraq. As part of the sting operation both Alwan and Hammadi allegedly picked up two Stinger missiles from a storage facility and delivered them to a tractor trailer with the understanding that the items would be shipped to Iraq.

The defendants in this case have been charged with crimes committed both in the United States and abroad. The use of confidential human sources and recorded conversation played an instrumental role in indicting and arresting both men. The use of these federal investigative tactics was so effective that the government was confident enough to charge the defendants with crimes committed over 8 years ago in a war zone in addition to the more recent crimes committed in the United States . The federal government possesses the resources and technology to coordinate efforts across international lines and between federal and state law enforcement agencies. Ensuring the proper administration of justice in high profile cases like these requires the zealous advocacy of an effective federal defense attorney who can properly challenge the government’s use of such tactics. Justice’s press release can be found here.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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