Traffic stop leads to illegal alien’s arrest

Traffic stop leads to illegal alien's arrest (Image 1)

A routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Williamson County this week has left more questions than answers.

Fairview police stopped 23-year-old Meseret Mulatu Engida on Monday.

Engida, an Ethiopian national, had an expired visa indicating he should have returned to Africa three years ago.  According to police, Engida's visa was issued in June of 2009 and was good for six month.

He also had a Tennessee driver's license that had been suspended earlier this year following a traffic incident in Memphis where he was unable to provide proof of insurance.

Also in his car, Fairview police officer Seth Goodwin found a .380 caliber pistol.  The gun isn't registered to Engida

A picture was also found in Engida's wallet of him as a little boy, clutching an assault rifle and sitting on his father's lap in Africa.

Engida was taken into custody following the stop and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license and possession of a handgun

Fairview police say he is currently in the custody of officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“He is being held for ICE,” Fairview police Lt. Roy Russell explained.  “We know he lives in Memphis.  He says he purchased a weapon from a guy that he couldn't name on the street, and he was traveling from Memphis to visit relatives in the Nashville area.”

Russell continued, “It is concerning.  He is not the registered gun owner and he is here on an expired visa.  He is someone we have to be concerned about.  We are not sure what his intents are. We have questions and no answers.”

The Tennessee Department of Safety has not yet said how Engida obtained a Tennessee's driver's license though the agency does confirm his license was suspended in August of this year for a failure to show insurance conviction from April.

The FBI says Engida is not considered a terrorism risk at this time through the investigation is ongoing.

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