Report: US border agents arrest Muslim cleric

January 27, 2011 04:40

SAN DIEGO — The Los Angeles Times reported a Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia has been arrested near San Diego after allegedly sneaking across the border from Mexico and hiding in the trunk of a BMW.

Said Jaziri is a material witness in a case against two men charged with immigrant smuggling earlier this month.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that Jaziri is the 43-year-old former imam of a Montreal congregation who unsuccessfully fought his deportation three years ago, fearing he would be tortured in Tunisia.

A federal complaint says Jaziri told authorities he flew from Tunisia to Chetumal, Mexico, near the Belize border, then took a bus to Tijuana. He said he agreed to pay $5,000 to be smuggled to the United States.

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