An Afghanistan national who escaped the Middle Eastern country during the Biden administration’s tumultuous evacuation has been charged with a child sex crime and violent assault of a 12-year-old boy in New Mexico.
On Sept. 21, Shah Mahmood Selab, 35, was charged in federal court with coercion and enticement of a minor. Selab faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison if he is convicted.
On Aug. 12, Selab allegedly approached a 12-year-old boy at Youngs Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Selab reportedly conversed with the boy who was sitting on a bench at the park – located near a middle school.
“Selab began asking the victim personal questions, and then invited the victim to sit with him on another bench in the shade,” the Department of Justice news release stated. “After moving to the other bench, Selab allegedly used his cellphone to show the victim photos and videos that were sexual in nature. Selab allegedly touched the victim inappropriately.”
The boy attempted to walk away, but Selab followed him and “punched him in the face multiple times,” according to the DOJ. The Afghan evacuee reportedly asked the boy to get into his vehicle and offered him $20 to allow Selab to touch him.
“The victim attempted to call 911 and retreated to the restrooms where he closed himself in a stall,” the DOJ said. “The complaint alleges that Selab followed the victim into the restrooms and pulled him from the stall. Selab allegedly locked the restroom door to prevent the victim from leaving, began kissing the victim’s face, and put a $20 bill in the victim’s hand. Selab also allegedly attempted to force the victim to touch Selab.”
Someone purportedly walked into the restroom and knocked on the door of the stall, which allowed the victim to escape Selab.
Fox News reported on Friday that Selab was an Afghanistan national – a detail that was not noted in the Department of Justice release. The outlet said, “Selab was paroled into the United States in November 2021.”
The office of Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) confirmed with law enforcement that Selab was an Afghan national who was paroled into the U.S. through Operation Allies Welcome – the Biden administration’s effort to resettle Afghanistan nationals into the United States. An estimated 88,500 Afghanistan nationals were relocated to the U.S. through Operation Allies Welcome after the botched Afghanistan evacuation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Selab was paroled into the U.S. on Nov. 18, 2021, at Philadelphia International Airport.
The National Immigration Forum defines parole as: “An available tool under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that allows certain individuals to enter the U.S. and temporarily stay without an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.”
Upon hearing of the accused crime, ICE lodged a detainer on Selab, who the agency confirmed was a 35-year-old Afghan national, after his arrest.
ICE lodges detainers on “individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable non-citizens.”
ICE said in a statement, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is committed to safe and effective enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and continues to focus its limited resources on the cases of greatest importance to national interest and public safety.”
Herrell told Fox News, “This is a terrible crime, enabled by the complete lack of vetting and transparency in the wake of Joe Biden’s Afghanistan retreat. Our government should be protecting the families of New Mexico, not importing twisted individuals who prey on children. That is why last year I pushed for thorough vetting of migrants that the Biden administration has brought to our communities, and why I continue to fight for accountability.”
Earlier this month, the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the department granted parole to Afghan evacuees who “were not fully vetted” following the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees,” read the report by DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari. “We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing.”
The investigation found that because of the lack of vetting, “DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities.”