Villa Park motel arrests not terror-related

October 21, 2010 3:11:10 PM PDT
FBI officials in Chicago say that four Sudanese-Americans arrested in a west suburban motel "were not a threat to anything terrorism-related."

The four Sudanese-born men from Columbus, Ohio, were arrested late Wednesday night in a SWAT raid on their motel room, and Villa Park police seized at least one stolen handgun, according to investigators.

The incident occurred at about 11 p.m. at the Motel 6, 10 W. Roosevelt Road, authorities said.

Two of the men ran from police according to witnesses, and were found in adjacent parking lots.

The FBI deployed two agents to Villa Park following inquiries from the ABC 7 I-Team, but FBI spokesman Ross Rice said late Thursday, that "There is absolutely no connection to any terrorist group and no plans for any type of attack."

The men who were detained are 18-22 years old and claimed to be just passing through town, according to other motel guests.

They checked into a second floor room in the back corner of the motel, as far as possible from the front office and Roosevelt Road.

Guests in the motel told the I-Team that at about 11 p.m. they heard a single gunshot followed by sirens and the arrival of a SWAT unit. Police have not confirmed that any shots were fired during the raid and no one is believed to have been wounded.

Witnesses also report that investigators Wednesday night were seen testing barrels of powder linked to the men.

In addition to "some weapons," authorities also found "numerous credit cards, some of which might be stolen" and quantity of cash in the motel room, Special Agent Rice told ABC 7.

Despite the concerns of some motel guests, concerns that terrorists had been plotting an attack, there were "no terrorist indications," Rice stressed.

A desk clerk at the Motel 6 said that police had told them "not to rent out the room," although no crime scene tape was present near the second floor room.

Motel general manager Tina Peters declined to answer questions about the investigation. Peters ordered an ABC 7 I-Team reporter off the property.

Villa Park Police Chief John Heidelmeier says he expects charges to be filed.

The charges may or may not be related to the guns, according to Heidelmeier, who confirmed that police are also investigating other matters the men may have been involved in.


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