Federal officials and news reports say that on Thursday, a man was arrested while carrying an assault rifle outside the Brooklyn home of Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who is an opposition figure.
Alinejad is a strong critic of the Iranian government, and he was once the target of a plan to kidnap him that allegedly involved people from the Iranian government. The FBI stopped the plan after Alinejad wrote that the Iranian government was trying to silence her by starting a “social media campaign calling for my kidnapping.”
Khalid Mehdiyev, a 23-year-old Yonkers resident, was arrested on Thursday. A complaint said that he had been “acting suspiciously” outside an unnamed home for several days. Prosecutors say that when NYPD officers pulled him over for running a red light, they found an AK-47 and 66 rounds of ammunition in a suitcase in the backseat.
Even though Alinejad is not named by name in the court documents, the Iranian journalist told the New York Times that authorities told her that the 23-year-old suspect was watching her house. She also told the Times that she had security footage of the suspect outside her house. The Daily News also heard from law enforcement sources that Mehdiyev was going after the journalist’s home.
At one point, prosecutors said, Mehdiyev left his Subaru and attempted to open the front door of the residence in question.
Mehdiyev told prosecutors in the complaint that he couldn’t pay his rent in Yonkers and was checking out the house to see if he could rent a room. He first said he didn’t know about the assault rifle, but later he said it was his. He also said he was in Brooklyn “because he was looking for someone,” according to prosecutors.
Mehdiyev is facing a number of weapons charges, such as having a gun with a scratched-out serial number and not stopping at a stop sign.