4. Abdelaziz’s Associates in Colorado

Tabari Malik Zahir

Multiple former and current MOA associates told us they first became aware of Abdelaziz and his cousin (presumably meaning Mohammad Hassan) through a well-known MOA drug trafficker named Tabari Malik Zahir.

Here is a copy of Zahir’s ID card from 1991 for the Quranic Open University, the “academic” branch of MOA.

His parents were long-time members of the group in Colorado and indoctrinated him as a child. The sources say he was involved in the black market ever since he was a teenager and passed his illicit revenue to James D. Williams. The sources are positive that MOA leaders knew about the huge amount of trafficking in narcotics and counterfeit items that he oversaw.

Revenue from Zahir and others involved with the Colorado branch went to other camps, especially MOA’s massive “Baladullah” commune in California. The compound was home to a huge criminal enterprise that included a taxpayer-funded charter school scam, militant training and financial transfers to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan.

Tabari Malik Zahir was a key source for Abdelaziz’s false identities. Witnesses saw Abdelaziz’s assortment of social security cards, birth certificates and other identity documents. One of Abdelaziz’s former roommates recalled that he had mentioned having a friend who made credit cards for him. 

In one case, Abdelaziz provided a girl he was dating from the OTC with a California driver’s license under someone else’s name so she could go to bars underage. He seized it back from her when she broke up with him.

Zahir was also involved in cashing out Abdelaziz’s Home Depot gift card balances, according to the now-published police reports.

Law enforcement noticed that Abdelaziz was depositing thousands of dollars into Zahir’s bank account in Colorado Springs. The large deposits would then be withdrawn from another account Zahir had in California. 

The evidence indicated that Abdelaziz, his cousin Mohammad Hassan, Zahir and probably others were selling counterfeit clothing on the street, including Tommy Hilfiger attire, under the business name of “Phat Fashion.” One report says the three were also suspected of drug trafficking.

Former associates of Zahir say MOA tasked him with setting up a branch in Morocco. Other members of his family also operated in African countries like Mali.

Zahir was later arrested in 2004 and convicted for trafficking huge amounts of cocaine across the country. He was caught in South Carolina, near the “Islamville” commune.

Declassified U.S. government documents from multiple federal investigations show that Zahir’s activity was not a rogue operation. Crimes like these fund MOA and Sheikh Gilani’s lavish life in Pakistan. The reports show that the U.S. investigators believe that Gilani redistributes funds to his terrorist associates. He has family ties to Hizbul Mujahideen, an Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group.

After Tabari was arrested, MOA leaders told members that he was kicked out of the group and to sever all ties to him. However, one person close to the situation said Tabari “remained close to Sheikh Gilani” and MOA leaders but it was kept secret. 

Mohammad Hassan

Our MOA-affiliated sources distinctly remember Abdelaziz in and near “Islamberg” in New York with an Egyptian he identified as his cousin.

Abdelaziz’s cousin, Mohammad Hassan, was listed as an OTC employee in 2000-2001. 

The police reports record that Hassan said he lived in Jersey City for about three years before moving to Colorado Springs in late 1999 or early 2000.

The documents reveal that Hassan was denied a continued stay in America in 1997, requiring him to return to Egypt in 1998. He did not, and therefore was an illegal immigrant. Traffic citations showed that he remained in the country and had, for a time, lived with Ali Abdelaziz.

During a search of Hassan’s residence, a birth certificate in the name of Willie Mares was discovered. 

Mares identified Hassan as a man who had approached him in a park and wanted his birth certificate and social security card. Mares said that Hassan mentioned being an Egyptian and planning to go to Arizona. He claims he noticed his wallet was missing after the interaction.

On August 20, 2001, agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service were escorted into the Judo gym at the OTC where Hassan was training and detained him. Hassan admitted to the INS agents that he overstayed his visa. He protested that he had gotten married about a year and a half prior, which would make him eligible for a visa extension so he could legally remain in the U.S.

Hassan told the INS that he was currently living with his girlfriend and a “very close cousin” named “Alaa Mustaffa” (alternatively spelled in the documents as “Mustaffo”). He later admitted he was referring to Alaa Abdel Aziz (a variation of Ali Abdelaziz’s name), adding yet another name to the list of aliases Abdelaziz has used.

Hassan was charged with identity fraud, specifically for using the name of Leonel Gomez Nunez. He claimed that a friend name “Jake” from the bar he frequented had offered to sell him Nunez’s birth certificate and social security card for $1,000. He purchased them so he could get a state ID card in Nunez’s name.

Ali Abdelaziz, however, later told police that Hassan had purchased the documents for the identity from MOA member Tabari Malik Zahir. His cousin, he claimed, deposited $900 into Tabari’s account for the birth certificate. 

The false identity was used to open an account for the clothing “business” he ran with Ali Abdelaziz and MOA member Tabari Malik Zahir. He also used the identity to apply for a passport at a post office located near the MOA safehouse in Colorado Springs.

The police reports show that he got married in 2000 under the name “Mohamed Ahamed Hassan.” He also used the name “Mohamed Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed Hassan,” and had a fictitious INS resident alien identification card with the name “Mohammed Ahmed.”

Karam Gaber

Abdelaziz has another a prominent cousin named Karam Gaber, also known as Karam Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber, who has been called “Egypt’s all-time greatest Olympian.” Gaber is also an actor and participated in one MMA fight, which he lost.

He was identified by a Colorado newspaper as Ali Abdelaziz’s cousin in 2004. The article included a picture of them laughing together after leaving the airport.

Gaber was training in Greco-Roman wrestling at the OTC at the time. He won a gold medal in 2004 under his full name of Karam Gaber Ibrahim. Ali Abdelaziz used the same surname while competing in judo matches as “Ali Ibrahim.”

Gaber also mentioned having a brother in New York in 2004, who would therefore also be a relative of Ali Abdelaziz’s. It is not known if this is Mohammad Hassan.

The police documents do not specifically mention Gaber or indicate that he was involved in any criminal activity. In 2015, he was suspended for two years for failing to comply with regulations to prevent the use of steroids and other drugs.

Bradley Ridges

Ali Abdelaziz was also linked to a scheme where identities were stolen from members of the U.S. military and used for acquiring cell phones.

The investigators discovered that someone named Bradley Ridges was getting dozens of cell phone contracts using different names. One such fraudulent contract was found in Abdelaziz’s possession. 

It was believed that his wife, who was serving in the Army at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, was giving him the private information of soldiers in her unit. This allowed Ridges to obtain the cell phones in their names.

The police reports do not indicate that law enforcement suspected the operation was linked to MOA, but it is reasonable to suspect so. Around this time, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services were investigating MOA efforts to infiltrate and defraud the U.S. military. 

Matthew Fernando Tuilethfuga

The documents identify Matthew Fernando Tuilethfuga as a Pacific Islander who was arrested on August 23, 2001 for identity fraud. His immediate reaction was to blame Ali Abdelaziz for forcing him to do it.

Tuilethfuga says that he was laid off from his job at Atmel Corp around July 1, 2001. Shortly thereafter, a friend who worked with Abdelaziz at the bar introduced the two men. 

He told the police that Abdelaziz offered him $4,000 to open a bank account in the name of “Lillian Husk,” and provided a birth certificate and social security card in her name to do so. He also got a Colorado state ID name using the name, with Abdelaziz accompanying him while he got it.

Tuilethfuga said that he last saw Abdelaziz around July 2001 when he agreed to store some of Abdelaziz’s furniture while he prepared for a trip to Egypt.

Later in court, Abdelaziz claimed that Tuilethfuga introduced him to “Oscar,” a weight-lifter at the OTC. This individual said he had a friend named Nina River who worked inside a bank and would get him a credit card for $150.

Robert Britton

Ali Abdelaziz used the identity of a man named Robert Earl Britton in order to present himself as a Judo Olympian. He also used the identity to acquire a false passport and to buy airline tickets to Egypt.

According to the U.S. Olympic Committee Program History, a man with that name checked out of the OTC on December 31, 1994 where he was training in wrestling. It did not list a check-in date.

Abdelaziz used the identity of Robert Britton to check into the OTC for judo training on May 18, 2001. He told colleagues that this was the American name that he adopted upon becoming a U.S. citizen, according to the documents.

Abdelaziz and Britton gave conflicting accounts as to how he came to possess this identity.

Abdelaziz told the police that he began using Britton’s name in January or February of 2001 after he gave Britton $150 for his birth certificate. The birth certificate enabled him to acquire a Colorado state ID card, which was then used to get a passport, which was then used to make him appear to be a U.S. citizen.

Britton’s story is that they met in September 2000 when they both worked as bouncers at the same bar. He claims that his birth certificate went missing from his car when Abdelaziz was helping him move from Denver to Colorado Springs.

The police reports record that Britton’s identity was also used for various purchases, including emergency room treatment that was then never paid for.

Orlando Estevan Fuentes

The police reports state that Ali Abdelaziz had an accomplice named Orlando Estevan Fuentes who was in the country illegally and subject to deportation, just like Abdelaziz and Hassan.

According to the documents, Fuentes was permitted to enter the U.S. through the Mexican border to attend school. He acquired a valid Florida driver’s license on August 20, 1996 and was listed as an employee/student at the OTC in 1996-1997.

In 2001, Fuentes told the authorities that he met Ali Abdelaziz and Mohammad Hassan about three or four years ago through judo competitions and practices. 

One police report indicates that Fuentes was trying to fraudulently acquire a U.S. passport. Like Abelaziz, he wanted to pose as an American citizen so he could join the Olympic judo team. 

The investigators said he is a Mexican national who was claiming to have been born in Los Angeles.

“Adam”

After he was arrested, Ali Abdelaziz told the police that there was another athlete at the OTC who was making false identities.

He described him as a white male about 22-23 years old named “Adam.” He said that Adam was in New York training in winter sports.

“Oscar” and Nina River

In court, Abdelaziz claimed that Tuilethfuga introduced him to “Oscar,” a weight-lifter at the OTC. This individual said he had a friend named Nina River who worked inside a bank and would get him a credit card for $150.