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Press Release

Unlawful Alien Convicted For Possession Of Firearms And Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida– United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has convicted Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif (25, Melbourne, and a citizen of the United Arab Emirates) on possession of firearms by an unlawful or illegal alien and possession of ammunition by an unlawful or illegal alien. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each count. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 26, 2016.    

According to evidence presented at trial, Rehaif was admitted into the United States in 2013 under a student visa to attend the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). After completing three semesters at FIT, he was academically dismissed in December 2014. As a result, Rehaif became an unlawful alien when he failed to immediately depart the United States. While an illegal alien, he possessed firearms at a local shooting range and possessed ammunition. In addition, Rehaif provided ammunition to two hotel employees as “gifts.”  

Law enforcement agents originally made contact with Rehaif in December 2015 at a hotel in Melbourne, where he had been living for two months. According to court documents, Rehaif stayed at the hotel for 53 straight days and paid over $11,000 in cash for room fees. Law enforcement found rounds of handgun and rifle ammunition in Rehaif’s hotel room and in a storage unit that he rented, but did not locate any firearms.  However, Rehaif admitted to law enforcement that he had previously purchased three separate firearms and had either sold or given them away. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Melbourne Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier and Special Assistant United States Attorney Christina R. Downes.

Updated May 19, 2016