- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2001

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) FBI agents have detained at least three persons in the past week for questioning from neighborhoods near the Trenton-area post office linked to the nation's anthrax contamination.
All three were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. One of the men, taken into custody Friday, said he was questioned about anthrax.
Information that led agents to at least two apartments in the area was developed during the search for the person who mailed the anthrax-contaminated letters traced to the Trenton postal processing center. Investigators, however, have found no direct link between the September 11 terror attacks, the anthrax and the apartment raids, officials said.
"At this point we have no information that links the two searches," FBI spokeswoman Sandra Carroll said Saturday. "I can't be more specific or elaborate beyond that."
There was no additional comment yesterday.
Previously, the FBI had said 31 persons had been detained in New Jersey, all picked up after September 11. None had been charged with criminal offenses directly related to those attacks. Nationally about 1,000 people have been taken into custody.
Meanwhile, an official said yesterday there was little question that an envelope containing cyanide and addressed to a northern New Jersey police department was a domestic act with no connection to the anthrax crimes. The envelope was found late Friday at Newark's main post office.
"We are just treating it right now as an isolated incident," said Tony Esposito of the Postal Inspection Service.
The envelope, picked out by an alert postal worker looking for possible anthrax contamination, contained trace amounts of copper cyanide blended into laundry detergent, Mr. Esposito said.
The Pakistani national taken into custody at an apartment Friday was identified by a brother as Allah Rakha.
He called his brother, Ilyas Chaudry, from a jail cell Saturday and said he still had no idea why he was picked up and questioned about anthrax, Mr. Chaudry said.
Mr. Chaudry said he also didn't know why federal agents spent more than six hours interrogating him, his brother and two other men. FBI agents asked them about their mail, magazine subscriptions and prescription pills in the apartment.
Postal inspectors took mail from the house and also inspected a letter box about 30 feet from the front door, he said.
Mr. Chaudry said the FBI agents asked where he went to college, and whether he took chemistry or biology classes in high school or college.
Miss Carroll would not give details about the search of the brothers' apartment except to confirm FBI agents had targeted the residence.
Meanwhile yesterday, U.S. officials said a suspected operative for Osama bin Laden's terrorist group al Qaeda has been detained in the Middle East for questioning in connection with prior terrorist attacks.
The man was being questioned by intelligence agents about a possible contact with hijacker Khalid Almihdhar in Malaysia, officials said.
The man, whom officials did not name, was videotaped by Malaysian security authorities in a January 2000 meeting with Almihdhar and other al Qaeda supporters. He also is being questioned about the USS Cole bombing and a foiled plot to bomb a hotel in Jordan filled with Americans during the Millennium celebrations
At the time, neither Almihdhar nor the man now in custody was known to be connected to terrorism. The man has not been charged with any offense.


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