Drug cartels are helping Muslim terrorists – including at least one ISIS militant – sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border to scope out the targets for terror attacks, according to a Tuesday report from Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch.
“Among the jihadists that travel back and forth through the porous southern border is a Kuwaiti named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir, an ISIS operative who lives in the Mexican state of Chihuahua not far from El Paso, Texas,” the group reported. “Khabir trained hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen and has lived in Mexico for more than a year,” according to information provided to Judicial Watch by a source identified only as “a high-ranking Homeland security official in a border state.”
According to the intelligence, Khabir now provides training to thousands of jihadis – mostly from Syria and Yemen – at a base in near Ciudad Juarez, which is located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
“Staking out U.S. targets is not difficult, and Khabir actually brags in an Italian newspaper article published last week that the border region is so open that he ‘could get in with a handful of men, and kill thousands of people in Texas or in Arizona in the space of a few hours,'” Judicial Watch noted.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Claudia Ruiz, Mexico’s top diplomat, told the Italian newspaper the Obama administration and media are “culpably neglecting this phenomenon.”
“[T]his new wave of fundamentalism could have nasty surprises in store for the United States,” Ruiz warned.
The information from the Italian newspaper comes from the Open Source Enterprise, a government database that collects and analyzes global media reports and in accessible only to registered federal, state and local government employees.
Khabir, 52, is on ISIS’ payroll and was forced to leave Kuwaut about a decade ago because he held extremist positions, Judicial Watch reported. He operates a terror cell in an area in Mexico known as Anapra.
In April last year, Judicial Watch reported on an ISIS camp in the same area. As WND reported, the FBI huddled with Mexican authorities to develop a “press strategy” in response to the reports of an ISIS presence just across the U.S.-Mexico border. However, federal officials denied the reports.
Nonetheless, a Mexican army field grade officer and a Mexican federal police inspector were among the sources who told Judicial Watch that ISIS was operating the camp in
Judicial Watch had also reported that yet another ISIS cell was operting in Puerto Palomas, to the west of Ciudad Juarez, and looking to target Columbus and Deming, New Mexico.
Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials reportedly found documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss, a large U.S. Army post in New Mexico and Texas. Officials also discovered Muslim prayer rugs, the sources said.
Also in 2015, Judicial Watch reported that Mexican drug cartels had been smuggling Middle eastern terrorists into a small Texas town near El Paso. The cartels and terrorists were said to be using remote farm roads to sneak past Border Patrol agents and law-enforcement officials.
“The foreigners are classified by the U.S. government as Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and they are transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20,” the organization reported. “Once in the U.S., the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area’s sand hills just across Highway 20.”
Judicial Watch said its government sources confirmed that terrorists have entered the U.S. by way of Mexico. In October, WND reported that dozens of illegal immigrants from terrorist nations entered the U.S. through Mexico in 2014 and were being held in a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center. The 54 detainees included nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“In fact, an internal Texas Department of Public Safety report leaked by the media documents that several members of known Islamist terrorist organizations have been apprehended crossing the southern border in recent years,” noted Judicial Watch, which added:
“JW obtained evidence that proves the U.S. government has known for more than a decade about the partnership between terrorists and Mexican drug cartels. State Department documents made public by JW in January say that for at least ten years ‘Arab extremists’ have entered the country through Mexico with the assistance of smuggling network ‘cells.’
“Among them was a top Al Qaeda operative wanted by the FBI.”
According to the government documents, some Mexican smuggling networks specialize in providing logistical support for Middle Eastern individuals who want to enter the U.S.