MELBOURNE, Fla. —A 25-year-old man in the U.S. illegally was arrested for possession of ammunition in Brevard County on Wednesday after an investigation by Homeland Security and the FBI.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif, of the United Arab Emirates, has been in the country illegally for about a year after he was terminated as a student at the Florida Institute of Technology in the fall of 2014. Authorities said he came to the U.S. under a student visa in 2013, but he failed to leave the country within 30 days after he was no longer enrolled at the school.
Detectives found him staying at a Melbourne hotel, paying more than $11,000 in cash for two months in room fees.
According to federal authorities, Rehaif admitted to possessing several firearms, which he had used at local gun ranges, but told detectives that he had recently sold or disposed of the weapons.
Agents said they found rounds of handgun and rifle ammunition in his hotel room and in a storage unit that he had rented, but they did not find any firearms.
“It’s a little surprising. You know, to see something like that right here in our home,” said Douglas Torpy, shooting range manager at Frog Bones in Melbourne.
Torpy is the manager at the shooting range that investigators said Rehaif visited twice, called Frog Bones. Torpy said nothing was unusual about Rehaif and he showed the right paperwork, a hunter’s license, to shoot.
“Any one person may not have all the pieces. They can’t put the whole puzzle together, but with the pieces from the hotel and the pieces here, you can start to paint the picture,” Torpy said.
Rehaif, who is now in federal custody, was charged with possession of ammunition by an unlawful or illegal alien. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14.
If convicted, Rehaif faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.