The son of the man suspected of having killed at least two Muslim men in New Mexico recent months could also have played a role in the crime, authorities said in court documents filed last week.
Documents filed Friday speak US Attorney for the New Mexico District Office alleges that Shaheen Syed, a son of Muhammad Syed, may be linked in the murder of Naeem Hussain, 25, on August 5, and the murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, on November 7.
Authorities are still investigating the cases and Muhammad Syed has not been charged with the murders.
Now the US Attorney’s office wants to hold Shaheen Syed, also known as Maiwand, pending trial in connection with the murders because he “presents both a flight risk and a serious danger to the community”.
Evidence that would have linked Syed to the murders includes cell tower data, which connects his phone to his father’s and places them both in an area close to where Naeem Hussain was assassinated on August 5. There is also evidence that Syed had “short and frequent communications with his father before and after the murder of Naeem Hussain”, the documents say.
“The phone calls between Muhammad Atif Syed and the defendant would be consistent with quick monitoring calls, both before and after the shooting,” according to the US Attorney’s Office. “And there appears to be no logical reason for the defendant to have been near the murder scene so soon after Mr Hussain’s murder.”
Investigators also found a gun in Syed’s bedroom when they executed a search warrant at the family home. It has not been clarified whether this weapon is linked in any way to the two murders.
In response to the US petition, a lawyer for Syed argues that the court is being asked to detain his client “based on extremely thin and speculative allegations that he is somehow involved. or related to these murders”.
“The United States’ motion amounts to an effort to detain the defendant for a crime with which he has not even been charged,” attorney John C. Anderson said in his response. “If the United States or the State of New Mexico does not even have sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with any involvement in the murders, the defendant should not be detained on the basis of alleged involvement in these murders.”
Anderson added that Syed and his father sharing an interest in firearms and cellphone tower data that does not specify exactly how close he was to the scene of the recent murder “is hardly clear and convincing”.
Syed is also branded a ‘serial liar’ in court documents, with investigators alleging he repeatedly lied, including entering an incorrect address in a gun transaction record for a gun he took. purchased in 2021. Syed was arrested Aug. 9 and faces charges in connection with the incident.
In an interview early last week after searching his family’s residence, Syed told law enforcement he had not been in the Volkswagen Jetta linked to her father in gun shops recently, which was determined to be fake.
“The defendant’s propensity for dishonesty should undermine the Court’s confidence in its candor with any probation officer supervising him for any form of temporary release,” the court documents state.
Syed’s past run-ins with law enforcement have also been cited as reasons why he should be held pending trial.
In an incident earlier this year, police responded to a call about a domestic violence incident where Syed allegedly punched his 16-year-old sister and father. His father, who had blood all over his face, said he tried to stop Syed from hitting his sister, which resulted in Syed punching him in the face, according to the documents.
The daughter did not cooperate with the police and told them she did not know what happened, while the father chose to press charges against Syed. Officers issued Syed a summons to appear in court on a criminal charge of ‘assaulting a family member’, but he did not appear. A warrant for Syed’s arrest was issued by a judge on April 4, which remains pending.
Anderson, Syed’s attorney, says he never received the summons or complaint issued to him in the case, according to court documents.
His father, Muhammad, was also meimplicated in disturbing incidents of domestic violenceincluding one inside a state office building, according to court documents.
Syed is due in court Monday morning in relation to the United States’ motion to hold him pending trial, his attorney, John C. Anderson, told NBC News.
Denis Romero, David K. Li, Janelle Griffith, Daniel Arkin, The Stella team and Alicia Lozano contributed.