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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Suspicious airline passenger to stay locked up

A federal judge overturned a lower ruling Monday and ordered detention for a man stopped at Detroit Metropolitan Airport with articles about nuclear plants and suitcase bombs and the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman ruled Sisayehiticha Dinssa, 34, was both a flight risk and a danger to the community. He overturned a ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen, who earlier on Monday ordered Dinssa released under strict supervision.

Dinssa, an Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen who lists his address as Dallas, Texas, was arrested Tuesday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after arriving from Kenya by way of Amsterdam.

He is charged with currency smuggling after telling Customs agents he was only carrying about $18,000 before a search of his luggage turned up nearly $80,000.

Though he faces no terrorism charges to date, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonid Feller told Borman that evidence found in Dinssa's luggage and inside his laptop computer makes him a potential threat to national security.

Agents found articles about nuclear plants, suitcase bombs and a hard-copy commemorative edition of the Dallas Morning News from Sept. 11, 2002 -- the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Feller said.

Agents also found a hand-written note saying: "This community is angry. Something is going to happen. We are going to see justice. This is a powder keg waiting to go off."

Paul Egan / The Detroit News
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