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USF student avoids deportation

  |   Aug. 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM
TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Youssef Megahed has reached one of his two main goals: he's back at the University of South Florida where he's close to graduation, the school says.

The 23-year-old engineering student won his release from federal custody last week when an immigration judge refused to deport him on terrorism charges. School officials confirmed he is back as an active student at South Florida, needing only one class to graduate.

The second goal is to become a U.S. citizen, the St. Petersburg Times said.

A problem two years ago almost derailed Megahed's plans. He and a friend, Ahmed Mohamed, were stopped for speeding on Aug. 4, 2007, in Goose Creek, S.C. They were arrested after deputies found PVC pipes filled with a potassium nitrate mixture in their trunk.

The discovery led to explosives charges against the pair.

Mohamed is serving a 15-year sentence for providing material support to terrorists after pleading guilty.

A jury acquitted Megahed in April for illegal transportation of explosive materials and possession of a destructive device. He had claimed he had no knowledge of the devices, which Mohamed claimed were homemade fireworks. Three days later, immigration officials arrested Egyptian-born Megahed for deportation.

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