The Wal-Mart Cell Phone Terrorism Fiasco

Dennis Faas's picture

According to Police Chief Benson Page of Caro, Michigan, cell phones can be used as detonators. Who would've thought?

So, naturally, when three men were found with almost a thousand cell phones on hand, they became instant terror suspects.

80 of those phones were pre-paid TracFone models from Wal-Mart. That amount constitutes a violation of the store's policy because customers are limited to only three cell phones per purchase. A Wal-Mart clerk sold them the phones -- despite the policy -- but became suspicious and called the police. Apparently, it's common knowledge that cell phones make for effective detonation devices.

The three men (Adham Abdelhamid Othman, Louai Abdelhamied Othman, and Maruan Awad Muhareb) told police that they bought the $20 phones with plans to re-sell them at a profit for $38, minus the chargers they came with. (Source:

Confusingly enough, two men in Ohio (Ali Houssaiky and Osama Abulhassan) were involved in a similar cell phone controversy just days before. They possessed about 600 phones. Like the Caro suspects, they said they were just looking to make some extra money.

"The only illusory connection advanced by the prosecution to date is based on race and national origin," fumed one of Abulhassan's family members. "This appears to be a typical case of racial profiling..." (Source:

In the Caro situation, Michigan's Mackinac Bridge was believed by investigators to be the target of this suspected terrorist plot. However, the FBI is now saying that the three men don't have "any direct nexus to terrorism." The bridge is once again considered safe to cross. (Source:

A prosecutor in the Ohio case can't prove terrorism either and will drop the charges. (Source:

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