FBI Agents Execute Search Warrant in Cherrydale

by ARLnow.com October 21, 2011 at 7:30 am 8,859 64 Comments

Update at 3:55 p.m. — Police have announced that an arrest has been made in connection with the FBI raid. As a result, we’ve removed a now-irrelevant reference to the owner of the group house that was raided.

About a dozen FBI agents executed a search warrant on a house in Cherrydale last night.

FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin confirmed the operation but was unable to provide any additional details, citing an on-going investigation. Agents, many wearing FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force jackets, could be seen carrying boxes of evidence out of the house late last night. One agent was wearing an “FBI Bomb Tech” jacket.

A neighbor said the house, located on the 4000 block of 17th Street N., was a group home, divided into several apartments. He said he hasn’t noticed anything suspicious about any of its residents.

Agents appeared to be focused on the home’s basement area. They could also be seen searching the yard with flashlights.

FBI agents were assisted by Arlington County Police and the Arlington County Bomb Squad. The county’s bomb squad truck helped to provide light at the scene. It’s unclear if bomb squad members were utilized for any other part of the operation. Godwin said the scene posed no danger to the public.

In a somewhat unusual move, police officers stopped at least two individuals who were taking photos of the scene and demanded their name, address and date of birth.

The search warrant comes one week after an FBI Evidence Response Team conducted a search of a site near I-66 and Patrick Henry Drive, following the discovery of gun parts buried in the ground in a wooded area.

  • Pictures from the sky

    Luckily we had a front row seat and could take pictures of the activities from our bedroom window. It was really kind of boring to watch. Nothing like what you see on CSI or anything.

    • Thes

      Welcome to the no-fly list, ArlNow.

    • WeeGee

      Good thing cops didn’t come over and tell you to stop watching from your window!

      Seems the second story here that could be developed is about the cops trying to stop citizens from taking photos.

      They have no right to do that! It is completely within anyone’s right to photograph police officers conducting their business at an incident scene in public view from a public space.

      Ummmm … heard of the First Amendment?

      @ARLNow – any more details on what happened to the photogs? Was it you? Were the “police officers” FBI or Arlington County police?

      • LPS4DL

        Freedom of speech isn’t absolute. There are many cases where it is illegal to take pictures, predominantly to preserve public safety or to protect the identity of law enforcement agents who require anonymity to perform their jobs.

        PS: WeeGee passed away many years ago. I knew WeeGee and you’re no WeeGee.

  • Johnny Utah

    I feel like that FBI truck isn’t very impressive.

    • Brian

      Kind of looks like something I’d expect to get from UHaul … I hope the agents have private AAA memberships.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      Neither is that BMW.

      • Emily

        That BMW happens to be my husband’s and there’s nothing wrong with it

        • Craig

          Aside from it being a 3 series you are right….I’m sure things will pick up for you guys soon. Good Luck!

          • Chris Bangle

            The 3-series is only the most consistently reliable of the Bimmers, but whatever. Good luck when your bloated 7 series breaks down.

          • 1234

            +1 for user name

      • That car just went up in value because it is now The Famous Cherrydale BMW.

        • Duder

          Unless it’s been subdivided and rented out as living space too.

  • DarkHeart

    So the raid was linked to the gun they found near Swanson?

    • We don’t know that yet.

      • Burger

        Very true. But given the location of the guns near Patrick Henry and this location, it isn’t that big of deductive leap.

    • JB

      Why are you making that leap? It’s something to consider in your mind if you’ve been following the news but the article made no such claim. This is how stupid rumors get started…

      • TGEoA

        Cos the place was owned by someone with a Middle Eastern sounding name. Just roll with it.

      • Johnny Utah

        agreed. The FBI works on a lot of different cases, i’m sure they are working on more than 1 case at a time.

  • Secret Agent Man

    Apparently, Osama and Gaddafi were living in Cherrydale the entire time. They aren’t dead. It’s just a cover…

    • Boo

      …said the unfunny comedian as the audience left.

  • (another) Greg

    I hope this time around it ends better for Jeff Bridges.

  • Chump Dumpler

    “A neighbor said the house, located on the 4000 block of 17th Street N., was a group home, divided into several apartments.”

    Isn’t this illegal in Arlington? I thought it violates occupancy restrictions to have more than three or four unrelated persons in one SFH.

    • Larchmont

      Bribes, Chump! Serveral different apartments – yes. Group home – no.

      • Chump Dumpler

        What’s the difference?

        • Thes

          Zoning law (which this landlord has been accused of bribing his way out of) limits where apartment buildings can be located (meaning separated units each with its own kitchen). Then, separately, zoning law says that within any one “dwelling unit” there can be no more than four unrelated adults. The difference usually boils down to how many kitchens there are with separate entrances to the outside.

        • JB

          You can cut a pizza into 4 slices, 8 slices, or 16 slices – it doesn’t make the pizza any bigger. If the slices are analogies for apartments, and the law says you can only have X people per unit and each unit needs its own entrance, kitchen, and bathroom to be a legal apt., well, that’s how scumbag property owners can cram a bunch of people into a building and fly under the radar for awhile.

          • drax

            Following the law isn’t flying under the radar. If the place really is divided, and this is legal, then there is no violation.

          • JB

            Well, you can be one of those people that will find every little way around a rule so you can get your way, or you can believe in something called the spirit of the law – which in this case, is that the community that created it doesn’t want 15 people living in a shoebox. Get it?

          • drax

            Tough. If it’s legal, he has no obligation to do something because of the “spirit of the law” or what the community wants. If you don’t like the law, fix it.

            Again, following the rules is not finding a way around the rules. Get it?

          • Greg

            Your building first has to be zoned to allow for multiple units before you can subdivide it. You couldn’t just turn your house into a duplex and put 8 unrelated people in it.

            So it’s not a case of flying under the radar. In fact, it would be easier to fly under the radar if you didn’t add the extra entrances and kitchens because the neighbors would be less suspicious. A lot of the time people get caught because they have construction crews adding walls and the like and the neighbors call zoning on them.

          • JB

            Sure, and if you follow that logic to it’s end, then you can do whatever you want until someone keeps appending a law saying you can’t – who cares how it impacts people or if it makes society waste its time and resources? Narcissists have rights too you know.

          • Chump Dumpler

            I don’t think either one is legal. I’m pretty sure you can’t just decide to divide your house into apartments willy nilly (though you can now have an accessory dwelling unit for ONE person). And you can’t have more than 4 unrelated adults in one dwelling.

            Whoever implied this guy was busted because he’s Arab American–BS. FBI prosecutes hate crimes too. Lots of Arab Americans work for FBI. And FBI isn’t stupid. They’re not going to waste resources going after someone unless they have good cause to believe they did something illegal. This isn’t the J Edgar Hoover era.

          • dk

            I live right around the corner from this building and walk by it every day. It is one of several small apartment buildings in this area of Cherrydale, with one entrance, but ~4 units (presumably with kitchens) inside. It never occurred to me to wonder if they were legal, since their existence is certainly not a secret to any of the neighbors.

          • Richard Cranium

            If it’s one of those square party pizzas, you can get many more slices than that. And how about the Italian Store X-large pizzas? I’ll bet I could get more than 16 outta one of them babies.

            Just sayin’.

  • Pingback: FBI agents search Cherrydale home; Falls Church dry cleaner closes with customers’ clothes still inside; GMU students call campus police untrustworthy; Loudoun School Board candidate arrested for dragging wife by car; and Virginia swears in first bl()

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    I believe Arlington County code allows police to ask for identification per their loitering law.

    • Arlingtonian

      It’s also an anti-terrorism practice. I’m not saying they thought people taking photos at this scene were terrorists, but we are always told be alert for people taking photos and video of processes like these or filming certain buildings and routes.

  • Thes

    Hey, ArlNow, Ibrahim Abdullah was indicted this week on the bribery charge and his court date was yesterday. Was this a coincidence?

    • Ortnik

      Yeah, b/c there’s a pretty good chance that could just be some cosmic fluke. Like 2 + 2 just happens to equal 4… Nice job detective!

  • novasteve

    Terrorism taskfoce, something tells me that they don’t typically deal with bribery, unless the person being bribed was being bribed about something public safety related.

  • Boba Fett – OLB

    We were walking home with a delicious box of Goodies pizza at around 11:30 and saw this. The female cop would not let us pass, even after we offered her a slice.

    I guess it’s just another day in the life of the Cherrydale Projects (East Side!). Looking forward to this being all over the Sweet and Sour news.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      That’s quite the hike from there to Goody’s

      • Boba Fett – OLB

        It’s not too bad, plus there’s a new secret 7-11 for beef jerky acquisition. I find it breaks up the walk nicely.

        • Kentucky SnowStorm

          Boba – have you ever tried using beef jerky as a topping on a pizza? I think you’re onto something.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      My comments are moderated, so I can’t respond to my own comment until it’s approved, but it turns out , its actually not as far as I thought it was!

  • Sarcphile

    Yeah, b/c Goodies pizza is just so good it’s a shocker that a cop trying to do her job wouldn’t let some cad with a corny sense of humor just cruise on by.

    • Boba Fett – OLB

      I’m glad we can agree that Goodies Pizza is delicious.

  • Too Bad

    Sad to see this kind of thing going on there. that’s such a nice neighborhood. or it was anyway. streetview shows a couple of ghastly mcmansions on 17th and on quincy.

    • Clizzledizzle

      Anything’s better than a rambler.

  • Waverly Hills

    Hey, this is only a block from my house!

    • Sam


  • novasteve

    Just this morning the Wapo has an article on the ACLU claiming the FBI is profiling muslims.

    • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

      Finally they are to be leaving the Hindus alone!

  • Clizzledizzle

    Great reporting, they mentioned ArlNow on “Eliot in the Morning” with regards to this. Nice scoop, keep up the good work!

  • Charlie

    This building is legally two units. This slum landlord crook made it into four. He lives across the street. Given his past record of having sex offenders in his places and hiring them who knows what is up here .

  • Cheryl

    We should all feel relieved knowing that the FBI takes things seriously and investigates them fully. I for one am grateful.

  • dallynd

    For what it’s worth, when they investigated the the suspicious package/guns on Patrick Henry there was nobody identified as “terrorist task force” and the bomb squad was only on site through the opening of the package.

    At that time, APD also stopped and spoke with a couple of people who were taking pictures or loitering. They didn’t bother photographers, and the gentleman stopped was white and blonde.

    Would like to see the text of the search warrant!

    • Rich

      That is not true, the FBI was there in full force the next day and several agents were seen wearing JTTF jackets see previous article, seeing how the location is not far from where the original scene was on Patrick Henry Drive it not a far stretch to assume the two are related just look at the second photo in, I live less than a mile from there and last Sunday night we spotted what looked like a surveillance helicopter and UAV flying in the area for about 5 hours, when we called the police the next day they confirmed it was being handled by another agency.


    • That’s not entirely correct, there were terrorism task force members spotted on Patrick Henry.

  • ArlingtonNative

    Can’t tell from the photo (too low resolution to get a good zoom on) put the long white box leaning against the BMW looks very similar to the type used to ship long-guns (ie: rifles) in.

    Rampant speculation follows: if related to the gun parts found near PH Drive, they could have pulled a serial number from the parts, traced to the purchaser and traced to that address.

    Yeah – I can rampantly speculate with the best of them!

  • Charlie

    I’m not sure what the irrelevant reference was to the owner….


    Slum landlords like this who rent property out to just anyone and make homes into apartment buildings are more of a threat to our quality of life than an unneeded over priced trolley, endless pet projects and absurd campaign mailers.

    I wish the board would lamp down on it. Hir more zoning and code inspectors. I can give you a let of 100+ properties that are ruining neighborhood fabric.

  • Rachel Styles

    The FBI and the CIA do different jobs. Most people think that they are the same thing. This article gives a great explanation on the difference between the FBI and the CIA.


  • RespectingOthers

    Hopefully we can get this guy and his slumlord owner out of our neighborhood…they are both disgusting. It’s these kinds of people who ruin our neighborhood….GET OUT!!!!!


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