- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) An Iranian national later indicted on federal charges raised suspicion at a Baltimore County airport by asking where keys to airplanes were stored, authorities said.
Shahriar Noormohammadi, 46, was indicted in Baltimore this month on federal immigration charges. He roamed around Martin State Airport in Middle River in late May asking questions that aroused the suspicion of airport workers and Baltimore County police, records show.
He asked about the types of airplanes kept at the airport, about procedures for obtaining fuel at night and about a padlocked locker at a hangar where keys to airplanes are stored, according to police.
An airport worker who encountered Mr. Noormohammadi inside a hangar said he was wearing a winter hat with earmuffs, despite the warm weather, and was "very evasive" about his reasons for being there.
The incident occurred in the early evening of May 22, the report said.
Airport managers, who told the man to leave the airport grounds, notified county police, who in turn alerted the FBI.
Martin State Airport is owned by the Maryland Aviation Administration and serves as base for the Maryland Air National Guard's fighter jets and cargo planes.
Mr. Noormohammadi, who holds a pilot's license and lives in Beaverton, Ore., has been in federal custody since June 3 a day before he was scheduled to take a commercial flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport back to Oregon. He was charged last week with falsely telling police and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents in interviews June 3 that he was a U.S. citizen.
He has been in the United States illegally since 1986, records show, after he failed to appear at a deportation hearing. He had come to the country on a student visa and later sought asylum, which was refused.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI would not comment on their investigation of Mr. Noormohammadi, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Harvey Eisenberg, who heads a federal government anti-terrorism task force in Maryland, suggested at a detention hearing this week that Mr. Noormohammadi could pose a threat if released.
Mr. Eisenberg said Mr. Noormohammadi lied to get on the grounds of Martin State Airport, according to a tape of the hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm.

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