Iraqi National Wanted for Murder in Iraq Arrested In California
Had Previously Attempted To Gain Lawful Permanent Resident Status
Omar Ameen, 45, an Iraqi national, wanted on a murder charge in Iraq, appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Sacramento, California today in connection with proceedings to extradite him to face trial in Iraq. Ameen settled in Sacramento as a purported refugee and attempted to gain legal status in the United States.
The arrest was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott for the Eastern District of California, Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, and Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office.
An arrest warrant charging Ameen with the 2014 murder of an Iraqi police officer was issued on May 16, by a judge of the Baghdad Federal Al-Karkh Inquiry Court. In accordance with its treaty obligations with Iraq, the United States filed a complaint in Sacramento seeking a warrant for Ameen’s arrest based on the extradition request. U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan issued the warrant on Tuesday, and Ameen was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Sacramento today.
The Iraqi arrest warrant and extradition request allege that after the town of Rawah, Iraq fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on June 21, 2014, Ameen entered the town with a caravan of ISIS vehicles and drove to the house of the victim, who had served as an officer in the Rawah Police Department. On the evening of June 22, 2014, after the caravan arrived at the victim’s house, Ameen and other members of the convoy allegedly opened fire on the victim. Ameen then allegedly fired his weapon at the victim while the victim was on the ground, killing him.
Ameen, originally of Rawah, in the Anbar province of Iraq, fled Iraq following the alleged murder, and later settled in Sacramento as a purported refugee. It is alleged that Ameen’s family supported and assisted the installation of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in Rawah, and that Ameen was a member of AQI and ISIS. It is also alleged that he participated in various activities in support of those terrorist organizations, including helping to plant improvised explosive devices, and committing the murder that is the subject of the extradition request. Ameen concealed his membership in those terrorist groups when he applied for refugee status, and later when he applied for a green card in the United States.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations and have not been proven in court.
Today’s arrest and efforts to initiate the extradition process are the product of a coordinated effort by the U.S. Department of Justice — in particular the Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs, which played a significant role — the U.S. Department of State, the FBI — in particular the FBI Sacramento Field Office which provided considerable resources to further this investigation and ensure the safety of the American people throughout it — and ICE-Homeland Security Investigations.