MINNEAPOLIS -- Federal agents raided several Minneapolis money-transfer businesses after they were added to a federal list of groups suspected of aiding Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
In all, five Minnesota businesses and one man were among 62 entities whose assets were ordered frozen because of what President Bush called "solid and credible evidence" of their terrorist ties.
Two of the groups and the named person, Garad Jama, shared the same address on Riverside Avenue near the University of Minnesota campus. U.S. Customs agents and police closed that site in the morning and detained one man, who was later released.
The Bush list identified the organizations at that address as Aaran Money Wire Service Inc. and Somali International Relief Organization, but signs at the building identified the business there as Amal Express. Signs advertised tax services and phone cards for sale. Inside, rates for wire transfers were posted, and a placard bore an American flag with the words "United We Stand."
U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger said the Immigration and Naturalization Service took the man detained at Amal Express into custody because he didn't have his immigration papers. The INS checked the man's papers at his home, found them in order, and released him, Heffelfinger said.
Reached in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Jama told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that he is a U.S. citizen who has never met Bin Laden. Jama, also known as Garad Nor, said he plans to fly to Minneapolis on Thursday to fight the allegations.
The Bush list identified two more businesses, Barakaat International Inc. and Global Service International, at an address near Riverside and Fifth streets a short distance away. Customs agents also shut down that office, removing computers and electronic and paper records.
The Bush list had a fifth entity, Al-Barakaat Wiring Service, located at a third address on Pillsbury Avenue in south Minneapolis.
No police or federal agents were at that location Wednesday morning, but it closed later in the day.
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