An Athens man who was on a Transportation Security Administration watchlist and was arrested last week for acting suspiciously in a restricted area of Athens Ben Epps Airport will be barred from Athens-Clarke County if he is released from the county jail, officials said.
Booked into the jail with a Highland Park Drive address, 33-year-old Ahmed Olasunkanmi Salau said in court on Friday that he lived in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago, according to Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General C.R.Chisholm.
At the request of Athens-Clarke County police Chief Scott Freeman and other officials, and as a special condition of his $5,000 bond, Salau will have to wear an ankle monitor and remain in Arlington Heights.
The Highland Park Drive address Salau gave to police was from when he attended the University of Georgia several years ago, the prsecutor said.
Prior to his arrest last week, Salau had been monitored by federal authorities since October 2016 when he when he was found in Houston on a commercial flight using a fake name and date of birth, and a fraudulent photo ID, according to a TSA BOLO.
The federal BOLO was issued in July after Salau’s arrest at the Ronald Reagan National Airport and other incidents there and at Washington Dulles International Airport, where he repeatedly tried to board private aircraft without “associated paperwork,” according to the TSA.
The BOLO was updated in October after Salau tried to “gain unauthorized access to aircraft and airport facilities” about 20 times at airports across the country.
In September, he reporedly posed as a Delta Air Lines pilot at an airport in Maryland, where he approached a flight instructor and made flight time inquiries, according to the TSA.
Suspicious incidents involving Salau have primarily occurred at fixed based operators, or FBOS, according to the TSA.
An FBO is a private company that is granted the right by an airport to operate there to provide such aeronautical services as fueling, aircraft rental and maintenance and flight instruction.
Salau “has a working knowledge of FBO operations and initially sounds credible,” the TSA BOLO noted. “If encountered, FBOs should ensure he is prevented from entering restricted areas.” The TSA requested in its BOLO that they and local law local law enforcement be notified if Salau of engaged in suspicious or fraudulent activities.
In the Athens incident, police responded to Athens Ben Epps Airport the afternoon of Dec. 26 on a report of a suspicious person. There, they found that Salau had been speaking with a Seaport Airlines pilot “and trying to learn how to navigate and flight patterns,” according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.
When asked if he had identification, the man said he didn’t, but then told police he had a driver’s license number, the police report noted.
Airport staff told police they wanted Salau barred from the airport, but the man refused to sign the barring paperwork and left, police said.
An officer sought an arrest warrant agains Salau on charges of loitering and prowling. A Magistrate Court judge signed the warrant on Thursday, and Salau was arrested later in the day by Gwinnett County police, who responded to a complaint that Salau was acting suspiciously at the Gwinnett County Airport.
According to a Gwinnett County police report, Salau was seen at an FBO called Aircraft Specialists Jet Center, inquiring about a flight arriving for him. Salau reportedly told police he was there to promote his nonprofit organization for underprivileged kids. He did not answer when asked what his promoting had to do with him being at the airport, according to the police report.
Salau was subsequently arrested on the Athens warrant and later turned over to Athens-Clarke County police.
The FBI placed a hold on Salau’s release from the Clarke County Jail, and he also faces possible questioning by TSA investigators.
“The TSA doesn’t discuss active investigations, but federal charges are of course possible,” TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said Tuesday.
Salau remained at the Clarke County Jail as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the jail’s website
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