Blank passports lead FBI to search Kent man’s home

Associated Press

SEATTLE — FBI agents seized computers, photographs, calling cards and financial documents from the home of a man who was arrested in Milwaukee with $44,000 in cash and nine blank passports, court documents show.

Acting on information provided by a Secret Service agent in Wisconsin, investigators searched a two-bedroom apartment in suburban Kent on Friday. A list of items seized was returned to U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday.

The man, identified as Ousman Sillah, 30, is being held without bail in Milwaukee on three felony and two misdemeanor charges of possessing fake identification and legitimate identification to be used fraudulently.

He was arrested at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport on March 7 after he tried to evade a security checkpoint while carrying a fake Pakistani passport, five different Indiana driver’s licenses, five different Social Security cards and nine blank passports from the Republic of Guinea, federal prosecutors say.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Sillah told authorities he used fake identities to file tax refund claims with H&R Block, and that he had received about $40,000 this year after filing 10 claims in Cincinnati and Indiana.

But the manager of the Dutchess of Kent apartments, where Sillah lived with two other men for $700 a month, told investigators he heard another story from Sillah’s girlfriend.

"She said that Ousman was in jail, and that she hoped it was only about him trying to get his friends into the country from Africa," wrote FBI Special Agent Kera Wulbert.

The Kent apartment manager also said Sillah’s wife planned to come from Oregon on Saturday to take his belongings from the apartment.

A message left with Sillah’s lawyer, associate federal public defender Nancy Joseph, was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors say they do not believe Sillah, who was born in the West African nation of Sierra Leone and has a valid passport from Guinea-Bissau, has any connection to terrorists.

There may be more to the story, regardless.

"Since this affidavit is being submitted for the limited purpose of securing a search warrant, I have not included each and every fact known to me concerning this investigation," Wulbert wrote.

Other items seized from the apartment include printers, mail, a day planner and a list of telephone numbers.

Copyright ©2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More in Local News

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Most Read