New York Police Department (NYPD) officers arrested a man with a loaded Kalashnikov in a Brooklyn neighborhood where Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad resides with her family, the New York Post reported on Sunday.
The newspaper quoted sources as saying that Khalid Mehdiyev, 23, was found near the journalist’s home with the assault rifle, a high-capacity magazine and more than $1,000 worth of cash.
Police officers observed Mehdiyev sitting in a gray Subaru Forester SUV with an Illinois license plate for several hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
The report said he ordered food to his car and looked inside of the windows and attempted to open the front door of the residence he was parked outside of.
The sources then said police found he was driving without a license and he was placed under arrest.
Mehdiyev told police he had been staying in Yonkers, but the rent was too high there and he was looking for a new place to live in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
He said he had tried to open the front door of the residence so he could knock on an inside door to ask if he could rent a room.
According to the officers, Mehdiyev initially told officers he had borrowed the car and he didn’t know anything about the gun and said the suitcase was not his.
However, he later confessed that the gun was his and he had been in Brooklyn “because he was looking for someone.”
In July 2021, US prosecutors have charged four Iranians, alleged to be intelligence operatives for Tehran, with plotting to kidnap Alinejad and to forcibly take her by speedboat out to sea, and then to Venezuela, which maintains friendly ties with Tehran.
The victim would then have been forcibly taken to Iran, where her fate would have been uncertain.
The plot to abduct Alinejad was part of a broader kidnapping campaign developed by the Iranian intelligence ministry, with intended targets in Canada, the UK and the UAE.