- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

One man accused of helping hijackers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to get fake Virginia identification cards pleaded not guilty yesterday, while another man facing similar charges waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
In U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Herbert Villalobos pleaded not guilty to unlawful production of identification documents for Abdul Azziz Alomari and Ahmed Saleh Alghamdi, who hijacked airliners that crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III scheduled his trial for Dec. 12.
Mr. Villalobos is one of four persons facing federal charges for helping some of the hijackers obtain fake IDs in the weeks before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. No other trial dates have been set.
No evidence suggests that any of the four knew of the hijackers' plans.
Mr. Villalobos is accused of signing a form falsely certifying that Alomari was a Virginia resident.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) had accepted such forms from people applying for drivers' licenses and ID cards but stopped doing so Sept. 21, saying the system had been abused.
Later yesterday, Victor M. Lopez-Flores, whose statements to police led to the indictment of Mr. Villalobos and two others, waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Court records show that Mr. Flores, 33, is a "confidential witness" for FBI investigators. Because he is an illegal immigrant who was deported to El Salvador in 1993 and is being held in jail on detention by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Magistrate Welton Sewell said setting bond was not necessary.
Mr. Lopez-Flores' attorney, Alan Yamamoto, said his client would continue to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors.
"He's been cooperating and is continuing to cooperate, and we're trying to get things worked out," Mr. Yamamoto said.
Like Mr. Villalobos, Mr. Lopez-Flores is charged with helping obtain Virginia residency papers for Alghamdi. He also has admitted that on Aug. 2, he helped obtain papers for Alomari, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Jesus H. Gomez.
Affidavits and court records state that Mr. Villalobos and Lopez-Flores were in a parking lot near the DMV in Arlington when they were approached by "three Arab males" in a van with out-of-state license plates. When the Arabs asked help to get Virginia ID cards for two of the three, Mr. Lopez-Flores and Mr. Villalobos led them to a lawyer's office on Columbia Pike.
Speaking in Spanish, Mr. Villalobos told the lawyer's secretary later identified as Kenys A. Galicia, who has been indicted what they wanted, the records show. She provided notarized statements to obtain the DMV identifications, according to court records.
Similarly charged is Luis A. Martinez-Flores, 28, a Salvadoran immigrant living illegally in the United States since 1994. A grand-jury indictment accuses him of helping obtain identifications for Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar, who were among the hijackers who crashed an airliner into the Pentagon.
In all, the defendants are accused of helping nine of the 19 terrorist hijackers obtain Virginia identifications.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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