Mental health of man arrested by FBI on weapons charges in Greensboro outlined at hearing

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Federal law enforcement officers outlined the weapons, drug use and mental health history of a man from Greensboro being held without bond on federal weapons charges.

Yasseen Eltahir, 26, appeared before a federal judge in Winston-Salem Thursday afternoon, six days after a law enforcement task force raided the apartment in Greensboro he shares with his parents. Eltahir remains in the Forsyth County Jail without bond. He’s charged with possession of a weapon by a person known to be an unlawful abuser/user of drugs and possession of a weapon after being committed to a mental institution.

An FBI agent testified the case began in April 2016 when Eltahir’s sister called Greensboro police to report Eltahir was in possession of and loading guns in his apartment on West Market Street in Greensboro. The sister told police Eltahir was creating fear for the people inside the apartment complex. At that time, Greensboro police officers took an AR-15 rifle and a .45 caliber handgun from the apartment, turned over to them by Eltahir’s father. Greensboro police then notified the FBI.

Once the FBI became involved in the investigation, the mental health of Eltahir became the focus of the investigation. The agent testified they learned of Eltahir’s multiple involuntary commitments as a danger to himself and others and that a judge ruled him mentally ill. Eltahir’s record of abuse of marijuana and pain killers was revealed as well. Agents questioned mental health workers who’d worked with Eltahir and learned he’d threatened to kill his father.

After the weapons were taken, agents say Eltahir continued to try to acquire weapons. The agent on the stand testified Eltahir posted a video on Facebook of his unsuccessful attempt to purchase a weapon at Gander Mountain. He also referred to himself in slang terms for being a drug dealer. They learned Eltahir tried to buy a gun and ammunition online but was only sold ammunition. A person, described as a high school associate, told the FBI that he sold three guns to Eltahir.

The hearing ended with the judge refusing to release Eltahir to the custody of his parents, who say he’s a Sudanese immigrant suffering from PTSD from being forced to leave Sudan at 10-years-old. The judge ordered him to remain in the Forsyth County Jail, but did not rule out releasing him to an alternative location for mental health treatment provided it met security requirements to keep Eltahir in custody.