From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad got calls from his travel agent
charset = "koi8-r"
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 11:14:56 -0500
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 11:19:52 EST
Organization: Bell Sympatico
WHO WAS FINANCING HIM OR THEM ?
SEATTLE (AP) - Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad got calls from
his travel agent while living in a homeless shelter. A jobless
drifter trying to support his children, he flashed a wad of cash
at a woman when he offered to buy her a drink.
With no apparent means of support, Muhammad and companion John
Lee Malvo traveled from the Caribbean to Tacoma, and points in
between, over the past year and a half.
How they financed their activities remains a mystery, although
evidence points to a combination of odd jobs and crimes that
included human smuggling.
``We're looking into the angles and explanations,'' Montgomery
County, Md., state's attorney Doug Gansler said Sunday on NBC's
``Meet the Press.''
There is no evidence that Muhammad was funded by any organized
terrorist groups, as some have suggested, Gansler said.
He also cautioned against making too much of Muhammad's finances,
noting that he and Malvo appeared to be living in a car purchased
for $250 when they were captured.
``They didn't have a lot of money,'' Gansler said.
District of Columbia police Chief Charles Ramsey has said police
there are reviewing recent bank robberies for possible links to
Ten people were killed and three wounded in suburban Washington,
D.C., in the sniper attacks. Muhammad, 41, and Malvo, believed to
be 17, have been charged with murder and other crimes.
The pair were not typical residents of the Lighthouse Mission in
Bellingham, where they stayed for a time last year. The Rev. Alan
Archer, who runs the mission, was amazed to see Muhammad getting
phone calls from a travel agent.
``You rarely hear of our people flying anywhere,'' Archer said
Sunday, recalling that Muhammad said he flew to Denver or Salt
Lake City and went skiing. He also took a trip to his home state
Bellingham also was where Muhammad apparently flashed a wad of
money at a singer when offering to buy her a drink at a
``They may have all been ($1 bills),'' said Hannah Parks, 20.
Before coming to Bellingham, about 90 miles north of Seattle,
Muhammad lived in Antigua with three of his children starting in
May 2001. Although he didn't have a job, Muhammad sent his three
children to one of the Caribbean island's few private schools,
The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Acquaintances in Antigua told The New York Times that Muhammad
traveled often to the United States and returned with items to
sell, including compact discs, batteries, over-the-counter
medicines, power tools and cameras.
He occasionally worked odd jobs as an auto mechanic, but money
appears to have been a constant problem for the Army veteran, who
started auto repair and martial arts businesses that failed in
Tacoma in the 1990s.
On Feb. 12, Muhammad was ticketed for shoplifting meat and frozen
foods from a Tacoma grocery store. He did not show up for a court
On Sept. 10, Muhammad and friend Nathaniel Osbourne purchased a
1990 Chevrolet Caprice with 150,000 miles for $250 in Trenton,
N.J. It was the vehicle in which Muhammad and Malvo were captured
as they slept early Thursday.
Crime could have been one way Muhammad financed his travels and
other activities. The most serious was the Sept. 21 liquor store
robbery in Montgomery, Ala., that helped lead investigators to
Muhammad and Malvo.
Muhammad has been charged in the robbery, in which two women were
shot, one fatally. Police have identified him as the man who was
standing over the two women, rummaging through their purses;
police said the robbers were interrupted and didn't get away with
Investigators also have found connections to more minor crimes. A
letter believed left by the sniper demanding $10 million included
the number of a credit card stolen from a Greyhound bus driver as
she drove between Nogales and Flagstaff, Ariz., in March,
according to Saturday's Washington Post. Authorities told her the
card had been used to buy gas in Tacoma.
Federal investigators are also looking into the possibility that
Muhammad smuggled people into the United States for profit, The
Miami Herald said. The government of Antigua will also
investigate Muhammad for possible ties to a smuggling and fake
documents operation there, The Seattle Times reported Sunday.