Crime & Courts

Aug 23, 2011 6:34 PM by US Attorney's Office

Hassan sentenced for Hi-Line Amtrak bomb scare

Hussein Abdi Hassan, a 24-year-old resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to false information/hoaxes in connection with a bomb threat on an Amtrak train in February 2011.

Hassan was sentenced to a term of 15 months in prison, restitution in the amount of $310,089.07, and three years of supervised release.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On February 14, 2011, Hassan was traveling westbound on the Amtrak passenger train. Hassan had become intoxicated and was being extremely disruptive on the train. The conductor alerted local law enforcement that he wanted Hassan removed from the train. A Glacier County Sheriff's Office deputy responded to the call and met the train in Browning. The deputy approached Hassan and told him he was being removed. Hassan became agitated, was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct, and then escorted to the deputy's patrol car.

While en route to the police station, Hassan asked the deputy, "Why are you doing this to me, I did nothing wrong, I'm not drunk you white men are all in this shit are you not?" The deputy said he did not know what Hassan was talking about. Hassan stated, "[t]his is not right, I paid for a f _ _ _ ing train ride, and where is my bag?" The deputy responded to Hassan that he did not get off the train with a bag. Hassan then began to laugh, and said, "Damn fools, all of you."

Hassan again asked, "You did not find my bag?" The deputy stated, no you did not have a bag on you. Hassan responded, "No one will survive on that train." The deputy asked him why, what's up with your bag? Hassan said, "It has something very dangerous in it." The deputy asked whether it was a bomb or something. Hassan responded, "Yes, do you even know who is on that train?" The deputy said, no who is. Hassan replied, "Very dangerous people, very dangerous. My bag was not locked and it can be anywhere, because I do not know where it is at now." The deputy asked Hassan whether he was lying, to which he responded, "I am Muslim, I cannot lie." Hassan then stated to the deputy, "We can sell our story to CNN for a large amount I'll be famous for awhile."

Based upon the threat, the Amtrak train was stopped in a field between Browning and East Glacier. The Glacier County Sheriff's Office arranged for approximately 140 passengers to be transported by bus to the Browning Middle School. In order to get to the buses, passengers had to walk approximately 75 feet across a frozen pond in extremely snowy and windy conditions.

An explosives team from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls responded to the scene where they searched the train and passenger luggage, including Hassan's bags, for explosives. No explosives or explosive devices were found. As such, Hassan's statements about having a bomb in his bag were determined to be a hoax. Hassan knew he did not have a bomb in his bag and knew that the information he conveyed about the bomb was false.

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