READING, Pa. — An Afghan man in the country illegally was arrested in Reading and whisked away to Philadelphia by federal agents, police said.
Mohomad Omar Popal, of Kabul, Afghanistan, had been wanted by federal authorities since 1997, police said. He was stopped by an Exeter Township officer on Saturday while driving toward Philadelphia, about 50 miles away.
Popal was in federal custody Sunday and could not be reached for comment; it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents declined to comment; an FBI spokeswoman said Sunday evening that she had no information on the matter.
Patrolman Kurt E. Unterkoefler said he arrested Popal after the U.S. Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force in Washington, D.C., informed him that the man has been wanted since 1997. He told police he has been living in Reading.
Two INS agents went to Exeter from their headquarters in Philadelphia upon learning that Popal was there, Unterkoefler said.
"We usually take INS detainees before a district justice and they sit in Berks County Prison until the INS picks them up," Unterkoefler said. "In my experience it was very unusual for them to say they were coming right out for this guy."
The agents searched Popal's truck, which appeared to be loaded with about a dozen cases of soda, Unterkoefler said. He said he found several car batteries, adhesive solvents and electrical wiring under the soda.
"When I saw a Middle Eastern man driving a heavily loaded pickup towards Limerick [nuclear power plant] I became a little suspicious," Unterkoefler said. "The bumper was almost touching the ground."
He said the truck posed a traffic hazard and that the vehicle's registration had expired. Popal presented an expired international driving permit that listed his home address as Kabul, Unterkoefler said.
Originally Posted By EricTheHun
I think maybe you oughtta get yourself an M-16 ~ Col Hal Moore
Time comes I need one Sir, there'll be plenty of 'em lying on the ground ~ Sgt Maj Plumley