BOSTON (AP) — Three Pakistani men arrested in the widening investigation of the Times Square bomb include a Boston-area cab driver and a computer programmer in Maine who told his boss that he knew the primary suspect, Faisal Shahzad, but hadn’t spoken to him in years.
Law enforcement officials said the two men arrested in the Boston area Thursday are Pir Khan and Aftab Khan. A third man, Mohamad Rahman, was arrested in Maine, according to one of the officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Authorities said the men supplied funds to Shahzad but may not have known how the money would be used. The three were arrested Thursday in raids across the Northeast as the FBI followed the money trail in the failed attack.
They were arrested on immigration violations, not criminal charges. All three are in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said agency spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
Pakistan also has at least two men in custody on suspicion of helping to finance the Times Square bombing attempt, a senior U.S. military official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press to discuss the sensitive issue of Pakistani cooperation in the probe.
It is not clear whether the two are members of the Pakistani Taliban, which U.S. authorities say was behind the plot.
Rahman is a computer programmer who worked for Artist and Craftsman Supply, a company with 15 stores from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles.
Larry Adlerstein, owner of the Portland-based chain, said he asked Rahman a few days ago about what it felt like to be from Pakistan following the Times Square attempted bombing arrest.
“He said, ‘I know the fellow who they claim is responsible for the attempted bomb in Times Square. I haven’t seen him for eight or nine years. He was a simple, uncomplicated person with no strong ideas. Maybe that’s what these terrorist organizations want, someone who’s a blank slate,'” Adlerstein said.
FBI agents told Adlerstein that Rahman was being detained on a visa violation. His wife was upset Thursday because she didn’t know where he was taken.
Pir Kahn, 43, is listed as a resident of the apartment in the Boston suburb of Watertown that was raided Thursday. A law enforcement official with knowledge in the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity said both Pir Kahn and Aftab Khan lived at the Watertown apartment.
No one answered the door of the home Friday.
Raeel Kahn, of Newton, said he and Pir Kahn, who are not related, are both cab drivers with the Allston, Mass.-based Metro Cab company. He said Pir Kahn is from Pakistan and is an “OK guy” who is also a hard worker.
“I’ve never seen him in any kind of trouble and I can’t believe that he would be connected to this,” said Raeel Kahn. “I think everyone has to hold their breath and wait until all the facts come out.”
Portland Police Chief James Craig said Friday that the Maine detainee was arrested in Portland, not neighboring South Portland, as was originally reported.
Anne Gearan, Eileen Sullivan and Pete Yost in Washington; David Sharp in Portland, Maine; and Russ Contreras in Boston contributed to this report.