2 Florida students charged in explosives scare

A bomb squad technician  examines items removed from a four door sedan on Highway 176 in Goose Creek early Sunday morning. The FBI is on the scene investigating the suspicious car that was stopped by police Saturday night. A robot, center, removed several items including a backpack, a large gas can,  and a red box from the car. The technician crawled on his stomach for a cautious up-close look at several items.   
The Post and Courier
 

A bomb squad technician examines items removed from a four door sedan on Highway 176 in Goose Creek early Sunday morning. The FBI is on the scene investigating the suspicious car that was stopped by police Saturday night. A robot, center, removed several items including a backpack, a large gas can, and a red box from the car. The technician crawled on his stomach for a cautious up-close look at several items.

— Pipe bombs were found Saturday in the trunk of a car being driven by two Florida college students, according to court documents.

Now the men will have to post a combined $800,000 in bond to get out of jail, a circuit judge decided this afternoon.

Youseff Megahed, 21, and Ahmed Mohamed, 24, have been charged with possession of an incendiary device, Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt announced today. If convicted of the charges, the men could face between 2 to 15 years in prison.

Mohamed’s bond was set at $500,000 while Megahed’s was set at $300,000.

Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt said the men were pulled over Saturday night on U.S. Highway 176 while driving more than 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. When an officer approached the car, he saw one of them men fold a laptop computer, which the officer believed was suspicious, DeWitt said.

The officer asked them if he could search the car, which the men agreed to. When he asked if there was anything in the car he should know about, the men said there were fireworks in the trunk.

At a 1:30 p.m. news conference today in Tampa, a spokesman for the University of South Florida where the men attend said Megahed is an undergraduate student and Mohamed is a civil engineering graduate student, the Tampa Tribune is reporting.

Mohamed is originally from Kuwait and completed his undergrad education in Cairo, according to the Tampa newspaper. He has been at USF since January and was registered for six hours during summer session, the spokesman told the paper.

Megahed, originally from Egpyt, has been enrolled at USF since 2004 and had not declared a major. He was registered for three hours this fall, according to the newspaper.

An Islamic community leader from Tampa, Fla., who’s been in touch with the families of the two detained college students, told The Post and Courier that Megahed and Mohamed are not troublemakers and that they a were simply on a weekend trip to North Carolina.

Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization for Muslims, said family members have told him they think the materials were leftover fireworks Megahed kept in his trunk since July 4.

“Both of them are really naïve kids,” Bedier said.

He said Megahed is a permanent legal resident of the United States and Mohamed was the passenger. Mohamed’s legal status is not known.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” Bedier said.

A terrorism task force, meanwhile is reviewing the evidence, said FBI spokesman Richard Kolko.

“At this point, it is too early in the investigation to say there is any link to terrorism,” Kolko said.

News that explosives were found Saturday shocked residents in Goose Creek, home to the Naval Weapons Station, which houses the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig, a military prison where enemy combatants have been held.

Reach Noah Haglund at 843-937-5550 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A bomb squad robot searches a car on US Highway 176 in Goose Creek Saturday night.

Alan Hawes
The Post and Courier

A bomb squad robot searches a car on US Highway 176 in Goose Creek Saturday night.


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