A very suspicious Iranian-Canadian....
What was he up to???
The arrest of an Iranian-born Canadian in Washington State with a stockpile of high-powered rifles and ammunition has sparked widespread speculation about the intended use of the firearms.
Oliver King, who also uses the name Hamid Malekpour, has been charged with taking firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from Oregon to Washington. He is also accused of making “a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement” to a customs and border protection officer when he was earlier allowed to cross the Canada-U.S. border.
If convicted, Mr. King could receive up to 10 years in prison on the firearms charge and up to five years for giving a false statement to a U.S. government agency. He has been in custody since he was detained on May 19.
Mr. King was born in Tehran in 1975 and, when he crossed the Canada-U.S. border, he had in his car a cancelled Canadian passport that contained three visas for Iran, Jennifer Hinckley, a special agent with the customs enforcement agency, states in a document filed with the U.S. District Court. It appears from the passport stamps that he travelled to Iran on two of the visas, most recently since March 31, she said.
He crossed the Canada-U.S. border at 10:15 p.m. on May 18, telling the border officer that he was to pick up his wife at a Target store in Bellingham, Wash., about 35 kilometres south of the border. The store was closed before Mr. King had even arrived at the border, special agent Hinckley said.
He gave the border officer a Canadian passport that had been issued that morning, explaining that his old passport was ruined in a washing machine. However, his earlier passport with the Iranian visas was found in his car during a secondary examination. The earlier passport, which had been cancelled, did not appear to have any water damage. Also, the cancelled passport did not expire until 2013, special agent Hinckley stated.
Border officers allowed Mr. King into the United States but then followed him. Mr. King drove passed the Target store to McMinnville, Ore., where he went to an office, loaded several cardboard boxes into his vehicle and then drove north to a storage facility in Ferndale, Wash., about 25 kilometres south of the border.
At that point, U.S. agents asked to search his vehicle. He consented. They found two shotguns, two semiautomatic handguns and 480 rounds of .50-calibre ammunition, which would be used in a sniper rifle. After obtaining a search warrant, they found six sniper rifles, eight law enforcement style rifles, three Glock semi-automatic handguns and ammunition in the storage unit.
Documents founds in his car indicated Mr. King was previously a licensed firearms dealer in Canada but his licence was revoked for selling firearms over the Internet. However, he may have a valid firearms licence and has six registered firearms, the U.S. agent stated, adding that he had a Canadian hunting licence that had been issued on the day before he was stopped.
Regardless of the validity of the hunting licence, the size and type of firearms and ammunition was not consistent with an occasional recreational hunter, special agent Hinckley said.
University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, who holds a Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law, cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
“But it is certainly a suspicious situation, with these kinds of weapons. They do lend themselves to some kind of paramilitary or terrorist activity,” he said Friday in an interview.