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Undercover sting owner's restaurant burns in Rochester

Firefighters battle the blaze at Mojoes.
Firefighters battle the blaze at Mojoes.

A former Rochester restaurant obviously doesn't have its mojo working. Mojoes Restaurant was destroyed by a rampaging fire that hit the North Clinton Avenue structure Sunday night.

The chicken and pizza restaurant had been closed since June, after owner Mufid Elfghee was arrested on charges he purchased two unregistered guns from undercover FBI agents. Investigators said at the time that Elfghee was plotting to kill returning U.S. troops and members of the Muslim community.

City firefighters were called to the former restaurant around 10:30 p.m. after neighbors phone in reports of heavy smoke coming from the interior. They had to break down the boarded-up door to gain entry. Officials said the interior was gutted.

Elfghee's uncle, Abad Elfgeeh, a Brooklyn ice cream shop owner, was arrested in Brooklyn in 2003, eventually convicted of illegally funneling more than $22 million oversees. There were intimations of supporting terrorism, but that was not proven in court. Nevertheless, the elder Elfghee is currently serving a 15-year sentence in the federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

Mufid Elfghee allegedly told an FBI informant in a secretly-recorded conversation before his arrest, " ... It's like (Americans) go to Afghanistan killing everybody. It's like they went to Yemen now killing everybody. Doesn't make no difference."

Federal, state and local police arrested him on May 31 as he met with an FBI informant in a Walmart parking lot on Hudson Avenue to allegedly buy firearms and silencers.