PORTLAND –A Portland man who works for the city of Portland is accused of aiding a terrorist attack on a Pakistani government compound four years ago that killed 30 and injured 300.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, was arrested at his home Tuesday morning on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.
"Hard to believe someone can hide out and bring that terrorism not only to other countries but the neighborhood itself," added neighbor Ron Overlund.
Thirty people were killed and around 300 hurt when suicide bombers hit the headquarters of Pakistan’s intelligence service in Lahore on May 27, 2009.
Officials said Khan conspired with one of the bombers, identified as Ali Jaleel, providing communication and arranging financing in the years leading up to the attack.
"The government has been aggressive in using these material support laws to prosecute people," said Tung Yin, professor at Lewis & Clark Law School.
Khan works for the City of Portland as a waste water treatment plant operator, a spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services confirmed Tuesday.
The indictment unsealed Tuesday said that Khan provided Jaleel with advice to help him in his efforts to travel undetected from the Maldives to commit violent jihad and used coded language when communicating with Jaleel to avoid detection. It also said that Khan provided financial assistance so Jaleel could attend a training camp to prepare for the deadly attack.
Jaleel died while participating in the suicide attack. According to the indictment, Khan also allegedly provided financial support and advice to Jaleel’s family after he died.
“Those who provide material support to terrorists are just as responsible for the deaths and destruction that follow as those who commit the violent acts,” said Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI will continue to focus on cutting off the flow of funds that help terrorists train, travel, and launch their attacks.”
“Dismantling terrorist networks continues to be a top priority for this office and the Department of Justice,” Marshall added. "We will find and prosecute those who use this country as a base to fund and support terrorists.
If convicted, Khan faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.
Portland mayor Charlie Hales said he was made aware of Khan’s employment Tuesday, along with details of the arrest.
“The deplorable act of triggering a bomb at a federal building in Lahore resulted in approximately 30 deaths and 300 injuries,” Hales said. “However, we should all remember that the charges contained in Mr. Khan’s indictment are allegations only, and that Mr. Khan is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
“This week’s arrest brings home the reality that worldwide headlines can resonate right here in Portland,” the mayor added, in his prepared statement.