By Nick Ochsner
A Texas college student has been arrested on terror charges stemming from a tip called in by a company in Burlington.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.
According to a copy of the criminal complain filed against Aldawsari in Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Aldawsari purchased ten 500 ml bottles of 80 percent concentration phenol from Carolina Biological Supply.
The company is located at 2700 York Road in Burlington– across the street from the old Smithfield Ham processing plant on Haggard Avenue.
The complaint says that phenol “is definted as a toxic chemical with a variety of legitimate uses, which can also be used to make the explosive Tri-Nitro-Phenol, also referred to as T.N.P. or picric acid.”
Carolina Biological Supply, York Rd. Near Haggard Ave.
Carolina Biological Supply shipped Aldawsari’s order to a Con-way Frieght facility in Lubbock, Texas. The shipment was sent back to Carolina Biological Supply.
Carolina Biological Supply then worked with FBI agents to contact Aldawsari to follow up about his order. Aldawsari became angry after company representatives– and FBI agents posing as employees of Carolina Biological Supply–questioned his reason for ordering the chemicals.
FBI agents continued to use what the complaint calls “legally authorized electronic surveillance” to monitor Aldawsari’s activity.
Jim Parrish, President and CEO of Carolina Biological Supply is just thankful that Aldawsari was caught before something happened.
“This could have been a real tragedy,” Parrish said.
Parrish is also proud of his employees.
“I’m proud of our employees who… who saw something suspicious happening and raised it and we were able to report it to the FBI.”