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WAR WITH IRAQ

Incident at Base Brings an Arrest

April 04, 2003|Louis Sahagun | Times Staff Writer

A Riverside man who allegedly made anti-American statements after crashing through a razor-wire barricade at March Air Reserve Base has been arrested by the FBI on charges of damaging government property, authorities said Thursday.

Eid Elwirelwir, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen born in Venezuela, allegedly had been smoking marijuana for several hours before he rammed the barricade at 12:30 a.m. Monday, according to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Robert A. Wucker.

Elwirelwir proceeded 1,100 feet past the barricade before smashing into a locked security gate marked with warning signs, illuminated by overhanging street lights and guarded by military guards armed with machine guns, Wucker said.

Surrounded by Marine Corps guards, the suspect said he had been "oppressed by America because he is Muslim," according to the affidavit. "Elwirelwir further stated that he supports Saddam Hussein's right to use weapons of mass destruction if invaded," the affidavit said.

A small amount of marijuana was found in his car, authorities said.

Elwirelwir was held for a psychological evaluation and then released, authorities said.

The FBI arrested him at his home later after Air Force civil engineers determined that it would cost more than $1,000 to repair the security gate.

FBI spokeswoman Cheryl Mimura said there was no indication of any terrorist links in the case.

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