An Algerian-born man accused of helping in the plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the millennium was quietly deported from Canada after years fighting for refugee status there, officials said Friday.
Samir Ait Mohamed was put aboard a flight leaving Vancouver airport Wednesday, officials said, after he dropped his fight against deportation.
Janis Ferguson of the Canada Border Services Agency said Canada had been seeking Mohamed's detention after the United States dropped its extradition request last August.
"We were seeking to detain him as we were under the opinion he was a danger to the public," she said.
But Melissa Anderson of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board said the request for the detention review was dropped earlier this week and all proceedings were canceled. As such, it was decided to go ahead with an earlier removal order against Mohamed.
Mohamed spent the last 4 1/2 years in detention in Vancouver fighting for refugee status.
Ferguson said she could not reveal his destination, but said suspects were typically returned to their homeland. Though Algerian by birth, Mohamed lived in Britain and Germany before coming to Canada in 1997.
For much of the time he was in detention, he was wanted in the United States on charges of assisting Ahmed Ressam with his plan to blow up the Los Angeles airport on New Year's Eve in 1999. Ressam was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
He told the FBI that Mohamed helped provide him with the fake credit card he used to buy parts for the bomb. He also said Mohamed talked about planting bombs in the Outremont neighborhood of Montreal because of its Jewish population.
The case collapsed when Ressam reneged on his promise to testify against him.