Egyptian student arrested by immigration officials

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) âÄî An Egyptian college student acquitted of federal explosives charges was unexpectedly arrested by immigration officials Monday. Youssef Samir Megahed, 23, was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as he left a Tampa Wal-Mart store with his father, according to his attorney, Adam Allen. He is being held on a warrant signed by an immigration judge. Allen said the government is trying to deport Megahed even though federal prosecutors failed to secure a conviction at trial. The former University of South Florida engineering student was acquitted by a federal jury Friday of possessing low-grade explosives that could have been used to build a destructive device. Allen argued during the three-week trial that the items found in his car during an August 2007 traffic stop were homemade model rocket engines built and packed into the car by a friend without Megahed’s knowledge. Prosecutors implied that Megahed and his friend, Ahmed Mohamed, planned an act of terrorism. Mohamed was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for making a YouTube video showing would-be terrorists how to convert a remote-control toy into a bomb detonator. The video was found on Mohamed’s laptop computer that was seized during the traffic stop. Megahed wasn’t charged in connection with the video, and his trial jury didn’t get to hear about it. In a statement, ICE spokesman James Judge said Megahed “has been placed into removal proceedings” and will be held until a judge hears his case. He declined to comment further. Megahed is a legal permanent U.S. resident who’s lived with his family in the United States since he was 11.