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Two Iraqis who paid alien smugglers in Mexico to help them gain illegal entry to the United States were arrested yesterday by Mexican authorities in a border town near San Diego.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office said Samir Yousif Shana and Munir Yousif Shana were taken into custody by Mexican federal agents, along with two suspected alien smugglers, in the Paso del Aguila district of Tecate, some 30 miles east of San Diego.
The Iraqis, according to a statement, had made contact with the smugglers in Tijuana, located south of San Diego, who then accompanied them by bus to Tecate.
Mexican authorities said investigators were told the Iraqis had been advised by an unidentified person in Baghdad that he could arrange for them to be smuggled across the U.S. border once they got to Mexico.
The Baghdad smuggler demonstrates that the porousness of the U.S.-Mexico border is becoming “common knowledge” on the Arab street, one U.S. law-enforcement official said yesterday.
But Adm. James Loy, former Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February that “recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al Qaeda has considered using the southwestern border to infiltrate the United States.”
In September, The Washington Times reported that a top al Qaeda lieutenant had met with MS-13 to seek help infiltrating the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities said at the time that Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with MS-13 leaders.
Mr. Tancredo recently said government reports show a 50 percent increase in the foreign nationals identified as other than Mexican crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. He said some illegals from nations identified as state sponsors of terrorism were paying as much as $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States.
“They’re not paying that kind of money simply to work at a 7-11,” he said.
(Posted on June 30, 2005)