Local News

FBI Arrests Apex Man Named In Letter Found In Afghan Cave

Posted April 18, 2002

— CNN

reported Wednesday afternoon that a letter found in a cave in Afghanistan congratulates a man living in Apex for completing his training at a U.S. flight school in Florida.

Officials confirm that Issaya Nombo was arrested Monday in Apex by a joint FBI/Immigration and Naturalization Services anti-terrorism task force.

Nombo, identified as a Tanzanian national in his early 40s, is being held on immigration charges because officials said he allegedly overstayed a student visa.

Nombo lives in the Waterford Green subdivision near Ten Ten Road in Apex. Neighbors in the area were surprised to hear this type of news about one of their residents.

Fred Lameck, a student at Apex High School, said Nombo lived in the area for a couple of weeks and was married to one of Lemeck's relatives.

"I'm surprised. I'm watching the news and I'm very surprised," Lameck said. "I didn't see him very often. Whenever I was around him, he seemed to be a very happy person."

"It's very, very frightening and very surprising to move (into) such a wonderful town or neighborhood and find something like that when you least expect it," neighbor Donna Johnson said.

According to the officials, Nombo had entered the United States in May 2001 and his visa was set to expire a few months later, in August.

The network reported that Nombo is also under criminal investigation for allegedly having a counterfeit Social Security card as well as another counterfeit card.

Nombo is also charged in South Africa with providing false aviation test answers, but he left the country before he could stand trial.

CNN also said a second suspect, Chikle Gideon, a.k.a. Gideon Masinde, allegedly also overstayed his student visa, which was for July 2001 through October 2001. He also allegedly had a counterfeit Social Security card.

CNN said this is the first time, according to its sources, that anyone has been arrested after his or her name was found on documents in Afghanistan.

The FBI and INS are heavily involved in the investigation to see if there are links to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

"We're looking into all of this, but you can't make the leap that this was connected to 9/11," said Frank Perry, an FBI agent in Raleigh.

CBS News officials told WRAL that its contacts with the FBI are downplaying the arrests.

Nombo recently graduated from

Voyager Aviation

, a flight training school in Titusville, Fla., located just outside Orlando.

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