Just a few months after six Middle Eastern men who entered the U.S. illegally through Mexico were arrested in Arizona state, authorities have now uncovered a “disturbing money trail” between terror-sponsoring countries and Mexico, according to a Judicial Watch report.
This includes more than a dozen wire transfers sent from the Middle East to known Mexican smugglers in at least two different regions of Mexico, Judicial Watch reported, citing information from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
“A report issued by the AG exposes the disturbing money trail between Mexico and terrorist nations in the Middle East as well as evidence of smuggling routes tying the region to America’s southern border,” Judicial Watch reported.
WND reported nearly a year ago on Judicial Watch’s findings that ISIS had established a camp inside Mexico just a few miles from the Texas border.
An excerpt of the AG’s new findings was published by a local media outlet this week.
It states that the city of Tapachula, a known human smuggling hub near the Guatemalan border in the Mexican state of Chiapas, was the top destination of Middle Eastern money transfers.
Nogales, adjacent to the Arizona border in northern Mexico, is the second destination, the investigation found.
“Agents conducted a comprehensive geographic analysis of possible terrorist related transactions and/or money transfers involving human smuggling networks,” the state report says.
Officials launched the probe shortly after six men – one from Afghanistan and five from Pakistan – were arrested in Patagonia, a quaint ranching town that sits 20 miles north of Nogales, on Nov. 17, 2015.
Judicial Watch investigated the matter as part of an ongoing probe on the dire national-security issues created by the notoriously porous southern border.
Special Agent Kurt Remus in the FBI’s Phoenix headquarters told JW that the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces vetted and interviewed the six men and determined that there were “no obvious signs of terrorism” so they were returned to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
But a few days later, in a story first reported by JW, five young Middle Eastern men were apprehended in the nearby Arizona town of Amado, which sits about 30 miles from the Mexican border.
Two of the Middle Eastern men were carrying stainless-steel cylinders in backpacks, law enforcement and other sources told JW, alarming Border Patrol officials enough to call the Department of Homeland Security for backup.
Only three of the men’s names were entered in the Border Patrol’s E3 reporting system, which is used by the agency to track apprehensions, detention hearings and removals of illegal immigrants. E3 also collects and transmits biographic and biometric data including fingerprints for identification and verification of individuals encountered at the border. The other two men were listed as “unknown subjects,” which is unheard of, according to a JW federal law enforcement source. “In all my years I’ve never seen that before,” a veteran federal law enforcement agent told JW.
“The money trail exposed by Arizona officials in the aftermath of these two major incidents is extremely troublesome,” Judicial Watch concluded. The AG’s Financial Crimes Task Force quickly identified suspicious wire transfers sent from Middle Eastern and African nations by people with Middle Eastern names to Mexico. In 2015, one human smuggler in Mexico received 70 money transfers from 69 senders, the task force found.
“All of the 69 sender names appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin,” the AG writes in its report. This seems to confirm JW’s reporting in the last few years on the dangerous alliance between Mexican smugglers and Middle Eastern extremists who want to attack the U.S.
Last summer JW reported on a Mexican drug cartel operation that smuggles foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small Texas town near El Paso.
They use remote farm roads – rather than interstates – to elude the Border Patrol and other law enforcement barriers, according to sources on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border.
The foreign nationals are then transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20.
In April 2015 JW reported the Islamic State, also called ISIS, is operating camps near the U.S. border in areas known as Anapra and Puerto Palomas west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
That warning follows reports from Judicial Watch in recent months that four Islamic terrorists have been captured in Texas after coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.
The warnings conflict with claims by the Department of Homeland Security there is not an imminent danger of ISIS breaching the nation’s southern border.
In its April 2015 report Judicial Watch said its sources for the information about the ISIS camp include a Mexican Army field-grade officer and a Mexican federal police inspector.
That information came from high-level sources just months after JW exposed an ISIS plot orchestrated from Ciudad Juárez to attack the U.S. with car bombs or other vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.
As a result of JW’s reporting Fort Bliss, the U.S. Army base in El Paso, increased security. The threat was imminent enough to place agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies on alert.