Two Iraqi men have pleaded
not guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh, PA, to charges that they fraudulently
obtained commercial driver's licenses from a state examiner accused of taking
bribes. The two are being held without bond because they are considered flight
risks by the government.
The two men were both
originally detained in Texas, on orders from a state magistrate, for refusing
to provide authorities with information about themselves or their families
in Iraq. They are among 20 Middle Eastern men indicted by a grand jury in
Pittsburgh in a scheme to obtain CDLs from Robert Ferrari, a former examiner
for the state's Transportation Department charged with selling bogus licenses
with hazardous materials endorsements. Eighteen of the men also obtained permits
allowing them to haul hazardous materials.
The two men, along with
18 others indicted in the scam, were rounded up last month in seven states
amid concerns about possible terrorist attacks involving chemical or biological
weapons. The FBI and U.S. attorney's office said they have found no link between
the fraud and the Sept. 11 attacks.