USF students charged with carrying explosives in South Carolina
FBI denies terrorism links while local Muslim groups question if racial profiling motivated the arrest
GOOSE CREEK, SC- Two USF students were in a South Carolina jail Monday after deputies found pipe bombs in the trunk of their car on Saturday, according to court documents.
Ahmed Mohamed, 24, a graduate student in civil engineering and Yousef Megahed, 21, an undergraduate student in engineering, were charged with possession of an incendiary device Monday. Deputies made the arrests Saturday after discovering a suspicious item in their car.
The two men told deputies they had fireworks in their car after Berkeley County deputies pulled them over for speeding around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, said Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt during a press conference Monday. Deputies later detonated materials found in their trunk.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told CNN and Reuters no clear links to terrorism had been found.
Ahmed Bedier, a spokesman for a local Muslim advocacy group, said during a press conferce that his talks with Megahed’s family and law enforcement officials led him to question the legitimacy of the arrests and charges.
“We have a lot of questions and not very many answers,” said Bedier, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Tampa chapter.
“If it was two good old boys from South Carolina pulled over with fireworks in their car, I doubt it would make news around the world,” he said.
Megahed is being held on $500,000 bond, Mohamed on $300,000.
The FBI is still examining materials found in the car.