Saudi citizen, former Oklahoma resident admits to visa fraud and concealing attendance at al Qaeda training camp
OKLAHOMA CITY – A citizen of Saudi Arabia and a former resident of Weatherford, Oklahoma has pleaded guilty to visa fraud and making a false statement to the FBI by, among other things, concealing his application to and attendance at an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in late 2000.
Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 35, was taken into custody in February of 2018, based on a criminal complaint signed in the Western District of Oklahoma.
In March 2017, the FBI began analyzing a trove of documents recovered during a December 2001 raid on an al Qaeda safe house in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
According to the criminal complaint, 15 latent fingerprints matching Alfallaj were found on an intake document for the al Farooq training camp.
Officials say some of the terrorist organization’s leaders and operatives were trained or instructed at the camp, located outside Kandahar, including some of the 9/11 hijackers.
In a hearing on Friday, Alfallaj pleaded guilty to one count of visa fraud and one count of making a false statement to the FBI relating to international terrorism.
In particular, he admitted he possessed a nonimmigrant visa from March 2012 to early 2018 that he obtained by fraud.
He also admitted he falsely told agents during the December 2017 interview that he had never visited Afghanistan or participated in religious, tactical, or military training outside Saudi Arabia, and otherwise affirmed falsely that all of the answers on his nonimmigrant visa application were true and correct.
Alfallaj faces up to ten years in prison on the visa-fraud offense.
He faces up to eight years in prison for making a false statement involving international terrorism.
The maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress.
He could also be fined up to $250,000 on each count.
As part of his plea agreement, Alfallaj consented to removal from the United States at the end of his prison term.
The Court will set a sentencing date in approximately 90 days.
Little is known about the 35-year-old's background. But court documents are providing a timeline of what investigators have put together about his time in the United States and his alleged travel to an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000.
Court documents say in October 2011, Alfallaj applied for a non-immigrant spousal visa, stating his wife is a non-immigrant student visa holder in the United States. The application was approved six days later.
Alfallaj first entered the US in December 2011 and began living in Oklahoma in March 2012. Oklahoma court records show he lived in Edmond between 2012 and 2016.
In October 2016, the criminal complaint affidavit says Alfallaj used the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) -- which is administered by the Transportation Security Administration -- to apply to flight training school, submitting his visa and fingerprints. He completed initial flight training at the school in June 2017.
Last November, the FBI confirmed the 15 prints found on one of the Mujahedeen Data Forms matched those Alfallaj provided when applying for his pilot's license.
It's not clear when Alfallaj moved to Weatherford. Southwestern Oklahoma State University says Alfallaj wasn't a student or employee, but he did live with his wife at an apartment near the campus.