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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 6, 2019

Former FBI Linguist Arrested and Indicted on Obstruction Charges

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Virginia man who previously served as a linguist for the FBI was arrested Saturday night on charges of obstructing a federal investigation and making multiple false statements to FBI officials.

According to court documents, Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, aka Haji Raghe, 66, of Burke, was a federal contractor for the FBI and worked as a linguist translating communications captured by court-authorized surveillance of a suspect (Person A) in a terrorism investigation. Wehelie allegedly intentionally misidentified his own voice that was captured when Person A left a voicemail message on Wehelie’s mobile telephone. When questioned by FBI investigators about this particular incident, Wehelie made several misleading and/or false statements.

Wehelie is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria today at 10:00 a.m.

Wehelie is charged with making false statements to government officials and obstruction of a federal investigation. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-CR-295-CMH.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Topic(s): 
National Security
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated May 6, 2019