Fort Worth man held after weapons, suspected forgeries found
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Worth man was in custody Tuesday after authorities say counterfeit military identification documents were found in his wrecked vehicle behind a Hurst shopping center.
Two weapons and an air rifle also were found in the Chevrolet Silverado.
The discovery of the documents and weapons prompted authorities to evacuate the shopping center on Grapevine Highway for several hours Tuesday morning.
Initially, authorities believed the military documents were real, prompting authorities to summon an explosives team and a bomb-sniffing dog to inspect the vehicle. No explosive devices were found.
Hurst police identified the suspect as Azeez A. Al-Ghaziani, 29. He was in the Hurst City Jail Tuesday afternoon.
Al-Ghaziani is expected to be charged with tampering with government records, said Hurst police Lt. Mark Schwobel.
“A charge relating to altering pubic documents is one that may be prosecuted on behalf of the state or federally (concurrent jurisdiction) and those decisions are typically made on a case-by-case basis,” said Katherine Chaumont, spokeswoman with the FBI’s Dallas field office. “If a federal nexus is determined based on any subsequent information that is collected, those facts can then be presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
Hurst police received a call of a suspicious vehicle at about 5 a.m. Tuesday in the 700 block of Grapevine Highway in Hurst.
"When officers arrived, the vehicle looked like it had been in a wreck," said Hurst Police Chief Steve Moore.
In the vehicle, officers spotted what they thought looked like military documents, a shotgun, a rifle and an air rifle.
"When we contacted military officials, they advised that the vehicle be swept," said Hurst police Sgt. Craig Teague in a telephone interview. "Officers could see weapons."
The sweep was for additional weapons or possible explosive devices, Teague said.
Authorities closed down the shopping center for more than five hours as agents with the FBI, Naval Criminal Investigation Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived on the scene to investigate.
As authorities were on the scene, Al-Ghaziani stepped out of a backdoor to his cleaners business in the shopping center. He apparently had been asleep in the business, where he had been living, Hurst police said.
"He had had some type of domestic issue at his home ... and he was staying at the business," Schwobel said Tuesday.
The Silverado, which belonged to Al-Ghaziani, had been involved in a wreck several days ago, authorities said.