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FBI Is Probing Man in Gun Scare

No terrorism link has been found to the O.C. man arrested at John Wayne, official says.

June 26, 2004|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

A man who was arrested at John Wayne Airport for allegedly having a loaded weapon and a Buck knife in his carry-on luggage posted bail Friday, but remains under investigation by federal authorities, officials said.

Ali Reza Khatami, 65, of Yorba Linda was arrested on suspicion of three felony charges: carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, possession of a loaded firearm and bringing a weapon inside an airport.

He was also booked on a misdemeanor charge of possessing a syringe, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Khatami was released from the Orange County Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana about noon Friday after he posted $20,000 bail, Amormino said.

The FBI has opened an investigation but no federal charges have been filed, said spokeswoman Cindy Lozano.

Authorities arrested Khatami on Thursday afternoon after an airport screener spotted a .38-caliber revolver that was loaded, a 6-inch Buck knife and a syringe inside the luggage, Amormino said.

Authorities said they found the gun stuffed inside a glove. Khatami was arrested without incident by federal Transportation Security Administration agents who called the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Amormino said.

Khatami was preparing to board a United Airlines flight at 2 p.m. to Reagan National Airport in Washington, officials said.

It was unclear why he had weapons in his luggage, Amormino said. "So far, we haven't connected him to any terrorist groups," he said. "We don't have anything to tie him to terrorism."

Khatami, a retired construction business owner, has lived in the United States for 40 years and is an American citizen, officials said. Neighbors of Khatami's on Via del Cerro in Yorba Linda said he is a friendly man. He moved into the neighborhood in 2001, got a divorce in 2003 and mostly keeps to himself, they said.

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