- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

A Northern Virginia man who has been linked to the suspected hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks actually exaggerated his involvement with them, an FBI agent testified yesterday.
Luis A. Martinez-Flores, 28, is charged with falsely certifying that Khalid Almihdhar and Hani Hanjour lived with him in Falls Church. The sworn statement Mr. Martinez-Flores is accused of providing allowed the two men to obtain fraudulent identification cards from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Mr. Martinez-Flores was paid $100 for his help, law enforcement officials said.
At a detention hearing yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, FBI Special Agent Jesus Gomez testified that Mr. Martinez-Flores "exaggerated and embellished" his involvement and his connections to the two men in interviews with the FBI.
Mr. Martinez-Flores eventually admitted to investigators that his only connection to the two men came on Aug. 1, when he helped them obtain the fraudulent IDs at the DMV office in Springfield.
There had been reports that Mr. Martinez-Flores had a close association with the hijackers. El Salvador's national police director, Mauricio Sandoval, had said Mr. Martinez-Flores may have moved around with the terrorists in New York, Boston or Florida.
Mr. Martinez-Flores is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.
It is not clear why Mr. Martinez-Flores would have wanted to exaggerate his connections to the hijackers. His attorney, Jeffrey Zimmerman, declined to comment after yesterday's hearing.
Prosecutor John Morton asked U.S. Magistrate Barry Poretz to deny bond for Mr. Martinez-Flores, saying the defendant "misled investigators at great length for several days before finally telling the truth."
Magistrate Poretz ordered Mr. Martinez-Flores held until his trial, which has not been set.
A second person charged with helping two other suspected hijackers obtain fraudulent ID cards was released on $25,000 bond and placed under home detention with electronic monitoring.
Kenys Galicia, who works in a Falls Church law office, admitted on Sept. 19 that she notarized fraudulent residency certification forms for Abdulaziz Alomari and Ahmed Saleh Alghamdi, the FBI said.
Miss Galicia also waived her right to a preliminary hearing.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Martinez-Flores, Miss Galicia and Herbert Villalobos have each been charged with helping the hijackers exploit a now-closed loophole that allowed people to obtain ID cards from the Virginia DMV with sworn affidavits instead of passports or other proof of residency.

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