Thursday, October 13, 2011

USA: Local terror plot suspect (Patsy) described as more a 'joke' than mastermind

Manssor Arbabsiar's neighbors in Round Rock recalled him as unfriendly. Two Austin restaurant owners said they had once asked him to leave their establishments for being rude. And Arbabsiar's former business associates in Corpus Christi described him as a foundering businessman.

But nothing has emerged from the 56-year-old Iranian-born U.S. citizen's past — including a small-time criminal record — to suggest that Arbabsiar would be implicated in an international terror plot.

The Justice Department has accused Arbabsiar of participating in an Iranian plot to kill Saudi Arabia's U.S. ambassador. A criminal complaint unsealed against Arbabsiar on Tuesday said he traveled to Iran and to Mexico to hire a Mexican drug cartel member to kill Adel al-Jubeir while he dined at a restaurant.

His friends have expressed doubt that Arbabsiar could be capable of such involvement, and his wife late Tuesday proclaimed his innocence from Arbabsiar's former home in Round Rock.

"I know that his innocence is going to come out," Martha Guerrero told KVUE-TV.

Arbabsiar has been living in Texas since at least the early 1980s, when he attended Texas A&I University, which is now Texas A&M University-Kingsville, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

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