BOSTON – A Pakistani man arrested in Massachusetts during the investigation into the failed Times Square bombing was deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). He arrived in Pakistan earlier today.
Aftab Ali Khan, 28, formerly of Watertown, Mass., was accompanied by ICE ERO officers on a flight from Boston Logan International Airport to Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad, Pakistan. Khan had been in federal custody since May 2010 when he, his uncle, and a man in Maine were arrested following the failed attempt to bomb New York’s Times Square on May 1, 2010.
Khan pleaded guilty to charges of unlicensed money transmitting and immigration document fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper sentenced Khan to time served, 11 months, and three years of supervised release. Khan was then ordered to the custody of ICE ERO for deportation proceedings.
A complaint unsealed on Nov. 16, 2010, alleged that Khan, a Pakistani citizen, entered the United States in August 2009, to marry his then-fiancé and began working at a Brookline, Mass., gas station without a required work permit. Federal prosecutors alleged that approximately three months later, after marrying a different woman, Khan defrauded the government by filing documents to adjust his immigration status in which he knowingly omitted his unauthorized employment.
Following the Times Square attempted bombing in May 2010, investigators obtained evidence that Khan had provided $4,900 to Faisal Shahzad, who was later convicted of carrying out the bombing attempt. Khan borrowed the money and transferred it to Shahzad in February 2010 as part of a "hawala" transaction in which Khan's family received an equivalent amount of money in Pakistan. Khan conducted money transmission business transactions without complying with federal registration requirements. The complaint did not charge that Khan was complicit in the Times Square attempted bombing or knew what Shahzad intended to do with the money.
ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation of Khan was conducted cooperatively as part of a team of 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The investigators worked around the clock for several days to resolve questions about Khan's money transfers relating to the 2010 failed bombing of Times Square.
Khan's removal from the United States was part of a plea deal involving a deportation order that followed his admission that he lied to federal agents investigating him. Khan's request to appeal the deportation order was dismissed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) on Jan. 4, 2011.
ICE's ERO prioritizes the apprehension, arrest and removal of convicted criminals, those who pose a threat to national security, fugitives and recent border entrants. Between October 2008 and the end of fiscal year 2010, the number of convicted criminals that ICE removed from the U.S. increased 71%. In fiscal year 2011 from Oct. 1, 2010 to April 30, ICE has removed a total of 109,700 aliens convicted of crimes from the United States.