A man who told authorities he was headed to Syria to try to collect a $25 million bounty on Osama bin Laden faces charges of attempting to smuggle more than $13,000, a Taser stun device, ammunition and radiation detectors.
Matt Mihsen was indicted Tuesday and was scheduled to be arraigned March 8, prosecutors said.
At the time of his arrest on Feb. 15, Mihsen told agents that he was going to Syria in hopes of claiming the reward — offered by the U.S. government — for information leading to bin Laden’s arrest and conviction, according to the charges.
Mihsen, 47, of suburban Fort Worth, Texas, said he was a registered private investigator and wanted to conduct an independent probe into the illegal sale of uranium by extremists, authorities said.
According to the indictment, Mihsen, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Syria, left Dallas on Feb. 15 for Damascus.
Mihsen changed planes at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, but an outbound search of his checked luggage revealed that he was attempting to take a number of items with him to Syria including a Taser, ammunition, pepper spray, a bulletproof vest and three Geiger counters.
Mihsen told federal agents he planned to use the items as bait to lure possible uranium smugglers, authorities said.
He also denied carrying a large amount of cash before agents found he had $13,256 on him and in his luggage, the indictment says.
A message was left Wednesday for Mihsen’s lawyer in the federal public defender’s office.
Mihsen was indicted on charges of making false statements to federal investigators, trying to smuggle bulk cash out of the United States and attempting to export money and goods to Syria without a permit or authorization. The third charge, the most serious, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.