Former USF student arrested by Immigration officials

Three days after acquittal on federal explosives charges, former USF student Youssef Megahed was arrested by immigration officials Monday afternoon.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Adam Allen, who served as a representative for Megahed throughout his recent trial, said to the Tampa Tribune that the 23-year-old was arrested by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the same accusations settled during the trial.

ICE released a statement saying Megahed, an Egyptian national, had been arrested on charges of civil violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Mr. Megahed has been placed into removal proceedings and is being held in ICE custody pending the outcome of his case,” stated the ICE. “He will have the opportunity to present the facts of his case before an immigration judge.”

Megahed was exiting the Wal-Mart on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard with his father, Samir, when ICE agents stopped him.

He was originally arrested when the car he was riding in, driven by former USF student Ahmed Mohamed, was pulled over for speeding in Charleston, S.C., in August 2007. Police arrested the men when they found PVC pipes, fuses and other materials in the trunk of their vehicle.

Megahed was found not guilty Friday for illegally transporting explosive materials and possessing a destructive device.

If he had been convicted, Megahed could have faced up to 20 years in prison.

When contacted by phone Monday evening, Samir said he was not in good condition to talk about the situation.

Tampa Immigration attorney Neil Lewis told the Tribune the case would not be as difficult to conclude this time because the evidence isn’t based on speculation. The immigration judge will determine whether Megahed can be placed on bond.

If Megahed is granted that right, the case will likely transfer to Orlando, where it could take up to 18 months to process, Lewis said to the Tribune.