A man accused of selling video games to a South American business with alleged terrorist ties appeared in court for his initial bond hearing. Khaled Sadafi of Doral, Florida, appeared before a U.S. federal magistrate to face accusations by the federal government that he is supplying goods to a shopping mall operating as a front to a Middle East terrorist group. Sadafi was charged in a terrorist related indictment last month. After lengthy arguments by the government and his Miami criminal attorney, the magistrate granted a three pronged bond that will assure the defendant's presence in court. The bond was set at $1.55 million which requires him to pay $100,000 collateral to the clerk of court with the remainder of the bond being secured with his home and other personal assets.
At a typical federal pre-trial detention hearing, a magistrate will determine if pre-trial bond is appropriate for a particular case. Of course, every case is different and the court must consider two factors in determining whether a bond should be set. First, the court must consider whether the defendant is a danger to the community. Significant drug related cases like cocaine trafficking, heroine trafficking and drug importation charges are often considered to be dangerous to the community on the whole. However, qualified defense firms are often able to secure bonds on these types of cases. Charges involving firearms and terrorist linked charges are considered crimes dangerous to the community and are much more difficult charges for which to secure a bond.
The second factor the magistrate must consider is a defendant's ties the community or risk of flight. The court will consider a defendant's citizenship, property ownership and whether family members reside in the jurisdiction. If the court deems a defendant not to be a flight risk, the individual will be forced to surrender travel documents such as passports and visas. The defendant will also be required to remain the federal district where he or she is facing charges. A defendant will much more likely receive a bond if the defendant owns a property, such as a home, in the jurisdiction. Ownership of a business in good standing will also help secure a bond. A federal magistrate will look favorably on a defendant if they reside with a spouse and children from the marriage. A negative factor could be frequent travel in and out of the country or large bank accounts overseas. In a nutshell, the defense attorney must convince the magistrate that the client's ties to the community will assure his or her presence in court.
In Sadafi's case, his attorney argued to the court that he owned a home in Doral for the past ten years and resided with wife and four children. Despite the seriousness of the charges, the magistrate decided to issue a bond, albeit in a hefty amount. Sadafi along with two co-defendants were arrested on terrorist related smuggling charges for shipping Sony Play Stations and digital cameras to a Paraguayan mall allegedly linked to the terrorist group, Hezbollah. All three co-defendants along with their import-export businesses were named in the indictment. The indictment alleges that the three individuals violated a post-911 law which prohibits doing business with other businesses connected to U.S. designated terrorist groups.
Miami-Dade Businessmen Accused in Terror Case Get Bond, The Miami Herald, March 2, 2010.