- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2006

The arrest Sunday in Richmond of two Egyptian students in the country on visas brought to an end a massive nationwide search for them and nine other Egyptian students who failed to show up for scheduled academic programs at Montana State University.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested Egyptian nationals Mohamed Saleh Ahmed Maray, 20, and Mohamed Ibrahim Fouaad El Shenawy, 17, at an apartment building in Richmond shortly before 9 p.m. They were among the group of 11 students who entered the U.S. at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last month and failed to show up in Montana.

The ICE agents were assisted in the arrests by officers from the Virginia State Police and the Richmond Police.

Federal agents and state and local police apprehended all 11 students who were the subject of an alert issued to law-enforcement agencies nationwide last week. All have been taken into custody on administrative immigration violations as out-of-status students.

Preliminary investigation by ICE and FBI agents has not identified any credible or imminent threat posed by any of the 11 Egyptians.

On Friday night, ICE agents in Des Moines, Iowa, arrested Ahmed Refaat Saad El Moghazi El Laket, 19; Mohamed Ibrahim El Sayed El Moghazy, 20; and Moustafa Wagdy Moustafa El Gafary, 18. The agents had tracked them from New York to San Francisco to Des Moines.

On Thursday, ICE agents arrested El Sayed Ahmed Elsayed Ibrahim, 20, and Alaa Abd El Fattah Ali El Bahnasawi, 20, in Dundalk, Md. Also on Thursday, the Chicago Police Department detained Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Abou El Ela, 22, at O’Hare International Airport as he attempted to book a flight to Montana. He was turned over to ICE.

On Wednesday, the Manville, N.J., Police Department detained Mohamed Ragab Mohamed Abd Alla, 22, and Ebrahim Mabrouk Moustafa Abdou, 22. Both were turned over to ICE. The same day, FBI and ICE agents arrested Eslam Ibrahim Mohamed El-Dessouki, 21, in Minneapolis.

More than 1,400 people have been arrested nationwide since the September 11 attacks by a special unit created to track down immigration and visa violators. Known as the Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU), it investigates foreign students and non-immigrant or exchange visitors who violate their visa or immigration status and who may be threats to national security.

The CEU has several ICE databases at its disposal, including the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which monitors students and exchange visitors in the U.S.

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