The California wildfires devastated the northern part of the state. Police initially arrested one suspect but released him after an investigation was conducted because the investigation led them to the actual person responsible for the fires: a 23-year-old man named Muhammad Islam.
Islam was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the United States in 2015 on a student visa, which expired when he dropped out of Dartmouth in November 2016. Fox News reported Thursday:
It is unclear what he has been doing since last November. Islam has no social media presence, no phones in his name, no known addresses, and no known aliases.
“It’s like he’s a ghost,” a source at the California FBI told Fox. “The Obama administration just lost him.”
So far, Islam is being uncooperative with the FBI, refusing to answer questions.
According to law enforcement, he was seen exiting a wooded area along California’s Interstate 42. Investigators found a can of gasoline and a blowtorch discarded near the spot where witnesses and photographs place Islam. Fingerprints on the gas can match Islam’s.
Islam was investigated in 2015 when money he sent back home from the United States was flagged as suspicious, but the investigation was closed because the recipient was a family member.
He was also part of radical Islamic groups when he was a teenager, sources at the FBI said. More than 40 Americans have died as a result of the fires.
The FBI says there no need to “jump to the conclusion” that this was terrorism, but if it walks like a terrorist and it looks like a terrorist it’s probably a terrorist.