Washington watchdog Judicial Watch renewed its longstanding warning that ISIS has camps near the U.S.-Mexico border after federal officials announced a Jordanian man was arrested for allegedly smuggling six citizens of Yemen into Texas.
Yemen is torn by civil strife, and it’s a hotbed for al-Qaida activity.
WND reported in 2017 the state of Texas warned of ISIS camps just across the border and the threat of “terrorist infiltration,” particularly as jihadists depart Syria and Iraq. The Texas Public Safety Threat Overview at the time said the “the current terrorism threat to Texas is elevated.” The Investigative Project on Terrorism also noted heightened concern because at least 13 aspiring terrorists had tried to cross into Mexico, or considered trying, since 2012. And Judicial Watch warned in 2015 that ISIS cells were operating near El Paso, Texas.
Now, the Justice Department has announced a Jordanian living in Monterrey, Mexico, Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldairi, 31, was arrested Saturday when he arrived at JFK International Airport on a criminal complaint “for his role in a scheme to smuggle special interest aliens from Mexico into the United States.”
He was ordered held pending his transfer to authorities in Texas.
“Aldairi allegedly smuggled six Yemeni citizens across the Mexican border and into the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “Alien smuggling puts our national security at risk, and the Criminal Division is dedicated to enforcing our immigration laws and disrupting the flow of illegal aliens into the United States.”
Judicial Watch explained the special interest aliens, six citizens of Yemen, were detained and interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security. A warrant alleges “each of them paid Aldairi varying amounts to be smuggled into the United States from Mexico.”
Judicial Watch noted Yemen, a major base for Islamic militants, is deemed a high security threat by the State Department, “and the 2009 Christmas Day airline bomber proudly trained there.”
“This is hardly an isolated case,” Judicial Watch said. “Foreigners from nations with terrorist ties have been slipping into the U.S. via Mexico for years and Judicial Watch has exposed several plots as part of an ongoing investigation into the critical national security threats that grip the region. In one operation exposed by Judicial Watch, Mexican drug cartels smuggled nationals of terrorist countries into a small Texas rural town near El Paso Texas. To elude the Border Patrol, they used remote farm roads to reach stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso.”
Judicial Watch also uncovered State Department records confirming that “Arab extremists” are entering the U.S. through Mexico with the assistance of smuggling network “cells.”
Among them was a top al-Qaida operative wanted by the FBI, identified via a cable from the American consulate in Ciudad Juárez as Adnan G. El Shurkrjumah. Shukrijumah helped plan several U.S. attacks, including plots to bomb Oprah Winfrey’s studio and detonate nuclear devices in multiple American cities.
“For years Shukrijumah appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list and, despite being sought by the agency, crossed back and forth into the U.S. from Mexico to meet fellow militant Islamists in Texas. In fact, as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Shukrijumah piloted an aircraft into the Cielo Dorado airfield in Anthony, New Mexico,” Judicial Watch said.
The watchdog also reported an ISIS operative named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir has traveled back and forth through the southern border.
“Just a few months ago, Judicial Watch obtained government figures showing that an alarming number of migrants from Bangladesh, another hotbed of terrorist activity, are entering the U.S. through the Mexican border in Texas. Situated in south Asia, Bangladesh is a recruiting ground for terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and al-Qaida Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). For two consecutive years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stats show that the Laredo Border Patrol sector is a highly popular crossing point for Bangladeshi nationals. At the time 209 Bangladeshi nationals had been arrested since the start of fiscal year 2018. The State Department has warned of a ‘significant increase in terrorist activity’ in Bangladesh, most notably carried out by ISIS and AQIS,” the group reported.
In June, WND reported on work on a new 20-mile section of wall on the U.S. border with Mexico in “an area where ISIS cells operate and Juárez Cartel smugglers help terrorists through the desert and across the border.”