US ‘hitwoman in hijab’ was foiled when her gun jammed and is now on the run, prosecutors say

Aimee Betro was allegedly recruited by Mohammed Nazir, 30 (top) and his father Mohammed Aslam, 56 (West Midlands Police/Supplied)
Aimee Betro was allegedly recruited by Mohammed Nazir, 30 (top) and his father Mohammed Aslam, 56 (West Midlands Police/Supplied)

A US hitwoman disguised in a hijab who was foiled when her gun jammed during an attempted murder in Britain is still at large after returning to the US, prosecutors say.

Aimee Betro, 44, was recruited by British father and son Mohammed Nazir, 30, and Mohammed Aslam, 56, to conduct a revenge killing against Aslat Mahamud and his relatives after a 2018 dispute at a jewellery store left the father and son duo injured.

Betro, who is from Milwaukee in Wisconsin, allegedly flew in from Chicago for the contract killing in Acocks Green in Birmingham, on September 7, 2019, after arranging to meet Mahamud’s son, shop owner Sikander Ali, to look at a Volkswagen Golf that the family was selling, Birmingham Crown Court was told, but the attempted shooting did not go to plan.

Dressed in a hijab, Betro “calmly” approached Ali, and pointed a gun at his head, the court heard. However, when she went to pull the trigger, the gun became jammed and Ali fled the scene.

The next morning, Betro allegedly went to Mahamud’s house and opened fire three times, before texting Mahamud: “Stop playing hide and seek” and “Where are you hiding?” the court was told. No one was injured.

Aimee Betro reportedly works as a freelance graphic designer (Supplied)
Aimee Betro reportedly works as a freelance graphic designer (Supplied)

Betro allegedly later sent Aslat Mahamud another text saying: “You want to rip me off, you want to be a drug kingpin go look at your house. I will show you. Watch your back. I will be shedding blood soon.”

The 44-year-old is said to have flown back to Chicago two days later and is still believed to be at large in the US, with an international manhunt underway.

If Betro is arrested in the US, it is not clear if she will be extradited to the UK to face possible charges.

Under the US’s extradition treaty with the UK, the UK must prove that a crime has been committed under both US and UK law and provide evidence that shows a “reasonable” demonstration of guilt in order for a US citizen to be extradited to the US.

Social media posts by Betro, reported by The Times, appear to show that she documented her trip to the UK from August to September 2019 in great detail.

In one Instagram post, she appears to talk about visiting her “partner in crime” in Manchester. In another post from the day before the first attempted shooting, Betro is seen posing in a picture with devil horns.

In other posts, she talks about attending the Tranzmission Festival in Crystal Palace, London, and going on a boat tour of the River Thames, it is reported.

Mohammed Aslam (West Midlands Police)
Mohammed Aslam (West Midlands Police)
Mohammed Nazir (West Midlands Police)
Mohammed Nazir (West Midlands Police)

During her time in London, she stayed at a number of hotels in Birmingham, Brighton, Derby and Manchester, in one case staying at a Raddison Blue hotel, the court heard.

Betro is not a professional hitwoman. She apparently works as a freelance graphic designer and studied early childhood education at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin, graduating in 2005 before going on to work as an administrator for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. In 2003, she wrote a letter to her local paper arguing in favour of free birth control for women.

Nazir and Aslam, of Derby, were found guilty of conspiracy to murder last week for their role in the attempted killing.

Nazir was also found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, perverting the course of justice and illegally importing firearms over a plot to bring guns into the country and then blame it on another person to frame them. Aslam was cleared of a firearms offense.

The guilty verdicts were handed down after the court heard that Nazir and Aslam held a grudge against Ali’s family following a violent dispute at his boutique clothing store in Birmingham, in central England, on July 21, 2018.

The violent incident had left Nazir and Aslam injured, with the windows of their shop left smashed and the interior “trashed”.

In order to seek revenge, the pair allegedly flew Betro over from the States to Birmingham to kill Ali and his family.

On September 6, Nazir and Aslam travelled from their home in Derby to Birmingham city centre, with Nazir spending more than two hours in a hotel with Betro–  who ordered a takeaway from Deliveroo – according to prosecutors.

Betro had apparently arranged to meet Ali the next day on the pretense of buying a car.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Betro – disguised in a hijab – pulled up in a Mercedes before Ali pulled up in an Audi nearby.

Kevin Hegarty KC, prosecuting said: “As he did, the would-be assassin came from the driver’s side of the Mercedes.

“As she left the Mercedes she left the driver’s door open. She walked quite calmly towards Sikander Ali and was pointing a gun at him at head height.

“As she got closer to Sikander Ali he saw her and he saw the gun and she pulled the trigger to fire the gun at him. Mercifully and luckily for him the gun jammed.”

Hegarty said Ali rapidly reversed his car and drove off, while Betro reportedly abandoned her Mercedes nearby – where it was later found by police.

Nazir flew out to America a few days later, a couple of days after Betro, who he put down as his point of contact on travel documentation, but he was arrested after his return to the UK the following month. Aslam was also arrested.

Detective Inspector Matt Marston, from West Midlands Police, said the pair were “determined to take revenge.”

“The lengths they went to in trying to make sure they weren’t implicated in pulling the trigger are immense,” he added.

“However, thanks to some great police work and support from our Derbyshire colleagues we were able to place them firmly in the middle of the attempted murder plot.”

The Independent has contacted the US Department of Justice and the FBI for comment.