Irving cab driver arrested on weapons charge

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on May 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Updated Monday, May 23 at 1:18 AM

Brookstone Apartments

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IRVING — The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force joined the investigation of an Irving taxicab driver after firefighters found suspicious materials inside his apartment near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Sunday morning.

The Brookstone apartment complex in the 3600 block of Brock Drive was swarming with detectives and agents all afternoon.

The unspecified items were discovered after Irving firefighters responded to a small fire at apartment of 41-year-old Sharif Ahmed Nour.

The bomb squad and hazardous materials experts were dispatched a short time later. At the time, police said the contents of the apartment did not pose a threat to the public.

"At this point we're taking every precaution necessary," said Irving police Officer John Argumaniz. "That's why we've called in the joint task force to assist with the investigation."

Nour's orange Jet Taxi was parked outside the apartment, surrounded by yellow police tape.

A friend, Ahmed Riyalle, told News 8 that the cab driver is from Somalia and has been driving cabs in and out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for years.

"He's not okay," Riyalle said. "Mentally, he's not okay, but he is able to work."

Riyalle said Nour never appeared to be threatening.

Nour is under arrest, and was originally going to be charged with having bomb-making components, but it was later decided to charge the man with possession of prohibited weapons.

"At this point it's too early to jump to any conclusions and speculate whether it may be terrorist related or whether it may be ... something local," Argumaniz said.

The discovery was unnerving for Consuelo Sanchez, who lives nearby.

"I have three kids and it's really concerning," she said. "They're outside playing all the time, and now it's not going to be the same."

Agents said they do not believe Nour is part of any terror network, but it was still unclear Sunday night whether he actually intended to cause any harm.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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