Sniper suspect may have sold fake IDs


November 1, 2002 

A Tacoma mechanic says he had planned to pay serial sniper defendant John Allen Muhammad $3,000 for a set of fake documents, including a passport and visa, The Seattle Times reported Thursday.

Craig Hack, 41, detailed his business deal with Muhammad, saying he described himself as "a middleman, a broker" in the sale of fake identification.

A federal affidavit filed with criminal charges against Muhammad described finding fake IDs in the car in which he was sleeping when he was arrested last week in Maryland. Found were "driver's licenses in several different names - but all bearing Muhammad's photograph."

Hack said he first talked to Muhammad seven months ago about buying a passport, visa, international driver's license and credit cards for $3,000.

Hack said he wanted the documents so he could wipe his record clean and drive freely again. Hack had served nearly 13 months in jail over the past two years for driving-related offenses, including driving with his license suspended, according to the report.

"John said that if the cops stop you, they can't mess with you," Hack said. "It will even wipe out child support (records)."

Muhammad showed him a Bank of Argentina credit card and an out-of-state driver's license, Hack said. "He said 'If you want to burn credit with it you can. You can rent merchandise with it and dump it.'"

They agreed to a $1,500 down payment and a final $1,500 payment about a month later when the documents arrived, Hack said.

Hack started to save money and planned to give Muhammad his birth certificate and passport photos.

"He guaranteed it would work 100 percent," Hack said.

But before Hack could pay, Muhammad was arrested in connection with the sniper shootings that killed 10 people in the Washington, D.C., area. A Jamaican national, 17-year-old John Lee Malvo, was arrested with him. Both men have ties to Tacoma and Bellingham.

Attempts by The Associated Press to contact Hack on Thursday were unsuccessful.

U.S. and Antiguan officials have been investigating Muhammad's possible involvement in providing false passports and human smuggling.

Muhammad lived in Antigua for several months in 2001 after allegedly abducting his children from ex-wife Mildred Muhammad in Tacoma. She later regained custody.

Keithly Nedd, who lived in the Antiguan house where Muhammad rented a room, said Muhammad ran a scam involving Jamaicans flying to the United States using the return tickets of other people who flew to the island legitimately. Muhammad would organize papers or a passport for a would-be migrant in Antigua, usually Jamaican, to use the return ticket.

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