ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A man accused of spying on dissidents for the Syrian Mukhabarat intelligence service had a loaded handgun in his car, along with a second handgun and an AK-47 in his home, when he was arrested last week, prosecutors said Monday during a bond hearing.
The government wants Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, also known as Anas Alswaid, held without bond while awaiting trial for conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign government. According to his indictment, Soueid and others he recruited videotaped protests in the United States by opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He sent those recordings, along with personal contact information for some of the protesters, to Syrian intelligence handlers.
Prosecutors argued Soueid represents both a flight risk and a danger to the public. They discussed large sums of money he received from abroad, and an alleged cash deposit of thousands of dollars from the Syrian embassy, to argue flight risk.
He had 500 rounds for the AK-47 and three magazines for a .40 caliber Berretta. Agents also found body armor in his home. Soueid's purchase of the Berretta is discussed in the indictment because he gave a false address to the Virginia gun dealer.
But the indictment also indicates that Soueid made written statements indicating it was okay to attack the anti-Assad demonstrators.
In April, he attached a handwritten letter to an email saying "violence against protestors was justified, raiding homes of protestors was justified, and that any method should be used to deal with the protestors."
Prosecutors made no statement indicating they had evidence showing Soueid planned to attack any dissidents. The hearing ended without a decision and resumes Tuesday afternoon.