News & Politics

5 Middle Eastern Men with Stainless Steel Cylinders in Their Backpacks Arrested Near Mexican Border

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Five Middle Eastern men were apprehended this week by the U.S. Border Patrol in an Arizona town situated about 30 miles from the Mexican border, law enforcement sources told Judicial Watch.

The men were spotted by Border Patrol agents about 35 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, on a ranch property in the vicinity of Amado (pop. 275).

Two of the Middle Eastern men were carrying stainless steel cylinders in backpacks, JW’s sources say, alarming Border Patrol officials enough to call the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for backup. A multitude of federal agents descended on the property and the two men carrying the cylinders were believed to be taken into custody by the FBI.

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.

A couple of weeks ago, six men —one from Afghanistan, five from Pakistan—were arrested in nearby Patagonia, a ranch town 20 miles north of the Mexican border city of Nogales.

Federal authorities have confirmed the November 17 arrests and a local news outlet published a storythat includes an official statement from the Border Patrol. Special Agent Kurt Remus in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s  (FBI) 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 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

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According to Judicial Watch, Agent Remus said he had no knowledge about the incident in Amado and DHS headquarters did not respond to their inquiry.

In the last year JW has broken a number of stories involving serious terrorist threats on the southern border that were disputed on the record by various Obama administration officials. Among these is an April report—confirmed by high-level Mexican authorities—about ISIS 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.