Students at George Mason University got a major wake-up call on Monday, when it was reported that police had arrested three students with bomb-making materials inside their dorm room last Thursday.
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) March 21, 2016
George Mason Police released a statement on the arrests.
“On Wednesday, March 16, George Mason University Police received a report of flames being shot out of a window in Jefferson Hall.
“When police arrived, they found sufficient cause to request a search warrant for possible drug paraphernalia. On Thursday, March 17, police obtained a search warrant and found drug paraphernalia as well as items consistent with the production of a dangerous device.
“Three students were arrested: two on drug and alcohol related charges and one charged with possession of bomb making materials.
“There is no threat to the campus community, and the investigation is ongoing.”
According to WTKR in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the search warrant found a leafy green substance, matchbooks, shaved match heads, a mortar and pestle, lighter fluid, hand sanitizer candles, and a PVC pipe inside the George Mason dorm. A bomb squad told police that these were materials used for making explosives, possibly fire bombs.
George Mason Police have yet to identify the three suspects. Two of the George Mason students are being charged with drug and alcohol-related crimes, while the third is being charged with possession of bomb-making materials.
NBC Washington reports that George Mason Police have not released any answers for possible motives for the bomb-making materials, but as one can imagine, the entire situation has made residents on campus nervous.
— Paul Bedard (@SecretsBedard) March 22, 2016
“It’s surprising to me that no one else on the floor knew about it, and if they did, they didn’t say anything about it,” Sydney Cono, a George Mason student, told Fox 5. “Explosive are very, very harmful, but at least the police caught it before something bad could have potentially happened.”
“I had no idea any of that stuff was in there,” Branden Adoseh, a neighbor in the residence hall who attends George Mason, told NBC Washington. “I mean, I know the people there, and I wouldn’t say that any of them were doing too crazy. But, I had no idea what they had those for.”
With the fear that ISIS is making progress with recruiting efforts in the United States, any sort of story like this is sure to cause fear domestically. There are publications that believe Virginia is a potential hotbed for recruiting because of its proximity to Washington, D.C.
The Washington Free Beacon points out that even though there has yet to be a direct connection discovered between these students and a radical Islamic group, Virginia and George Mason University have seen an “uptick in radical activity.”
Last week, Mohomad Jamal Khweis, an American-born son to Palestinian immigrants, was captured by Kurdish forces in Iraq. He’s now being investigated by American authorities for attempting to join ISIS, according to CNN.
Two Virginia men were arrested in January at the Richmond International Airport as they were allegedly heading to Syria to join ISIS.
In June 2015, Ali Shukri Amin, a 17-year-old from Manassas, Virginia, was convicted on terrorism charges for helping someone get to Syria to join ISIS.
It’s obviously jumping to conclusions whether or not this incident at George Mason is in anyway connected to ISIS, but with the recent happenings in the area, it’s not something to ignore.
[Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]