A Saudi man attending a New Mexico university was charged Friday with illegally possessing a firearm, according to federal court documents.
Hassan Alqahtani, 28, who is enrolled at the University of New Mexico’s school of engineering was charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a person admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa, federal prosecutors said.
The FBI said in an affidavit that a search of his home Thursday turned up a .380-caliber Cobra handgun.
The affidavit says the FBI began investigating Alqahtani after a person who said he knows the student called an agency tip line on Aug. 8, claiming Alqahtani was “creating a list of people who he wants to kill before he leaves the U.S.” which included the tipster and University of New Mexico professors.
The affidavit does not include any details about the alleged list and does not mention any threats to kill people.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico said in a statement that “Alqahtani is not currently charged with anything other than possession of a firearm. I cannot confirm or deny an ongoing investigation of any other conduct.”
Alqahtani turned himself into authorities Friday afternoon and appeared before a judge who ordered him held through the weekend, the Albuquerque Journal reported. He is scheduled for a detention hearing Monday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney George Kraehe argued that Alqahtani should remain in custody because the alleged list included professors, and the school’s graduation is Saturday, the newspaper reported.
Joel Meyers, a defense attorney for Alqahtani, said he plans to dispute accusations that the seized firearm belonged to Alqahtani and expressed disappointment at the timing of the arrest on the day before Alqahtani’s graduation ceremony, The Associated Press reported.
“If he was such a concern,” Meyers said, according to the AP, “why the delay until right before his graduation?”
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