Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
Hezbollah Considered To Be More Advanced Than Al-Qaida
POSTED: 4:53 pm PDT May 4, 2011
UPDATED: 6:27 pm PDT May 4, 2011
Video at the link
SAN DIEGO -- A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.
"They are recognized by many experts as the 'A' team of Muslim terrorist organizations," a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.
The former agent, referring to Shi'a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, "They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings."
Some of the group's bombings include the U.S. embassy in Beirut and Israeli embassy in Argentina.
However, the group is now active much closer to San Diego.
"We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico," the agent told 10News.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaida and its offshoots.
"They are more shooters than thinkers … it's a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training," the agent said, referring to al-Qaida.
Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.
"Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans," he said. "I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term."
Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.
Now, the group is blending into Shi'a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.
"They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories," the agent said.
The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.
He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.
"From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training," the agent said.
For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango
"I confirmed the participation of cartel members as well as other Hezbollah individuals living and operating out of there," he said.
Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said points to Hezbollah's involvement.
"Where are the knowledgeable tunnel builders? Certainly in the Middle East," he said.
Why have Americans not heard more about Hezbollah's activities happening so close to the border?
"If they really wanted to start blowing stuff up, they could do it," the agent said.
According to the agent, the organization sees the U.S. as their "cash cow," with illegal drug and immigration operations. Many senior Hezbollah leaders are wealthy businessmen, the agent said.
"The money they are sending back to Lebanon is too important right now to jeopardize those operations," he said.
The agent said the real concern is the group's long-term goal of radicalizing Muslim communities.
"They're focusing on developing … infiltrating communities within North America," the agent told 10News.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
(Thursday, May 05, 2011)
Jacumba, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two male United States citizens in Jacumba on Tuesday for smuggling four undocumented Mexican nationals in a uniquely constructed compartment in the bed of a 1997 black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.
At approximately 2 p.m., agents on patrol stopped the 43-year-old driver and 39-year-old passenger in a pickup truck on Old Highway 80. During questioning, agents became suspicious of the men’s nervous demeanor. A search of the vehicle revealed an opening cut into the metal wall between the passenger compartment and the bed of the truck. Subsequently, agents observed an individual attempting to conceal himself in a modified compartment. The compartment consisted of a hidden cavity built inside hollowed-out wooden construction materials lying in the bed of the truck. Agents discovered four undocumented male Mexican nationals hidden inside the compartment.
The suspected human smugglers and illegal aliens were taken into custody and transported to a local Border Patrol station for processing and further investigation. The two suspected smugglers are being held in Department of Homeland Security custody on alien smuggling charges. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.
To prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on major corridors of egress away from our nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity related to border security, please call (619) 498-9900.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
The government of the United States spends in excess of $1.5 billion annually to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.
Figures published in a report issued this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicate that over the past five fiscal years the number of foreign nationals jailed in federal prisons has increased by 4,000 to a total of 55,000.
A corresponding increase in the illegal alien population in state prisons was revealed, as well. The number increased by 75,000 to an astounding total of nearly 300,000.
How much does it cost states to house these criminals? Says the GAO,
We estimated that selected operating costs (i.e., correctional officer salaries, medical care, food service, and utilities) associated with incarcerating criminal aliens in our nation’s state prison systems totaled $7 billion from fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2009. These costs ranged from about $736 million in 2003 to $1.1 billion in 2009, about a 56 percent increase.
The GAO report summarizes the findings:
The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about 55,000, and the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails was about 296,000 in fiscal year 2009 (the most recent data available), and the majority were from Mexico. The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons increased about 7 percent from about 51,000 in fiscal year 2005 while the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails increased about 35 percent from about 220,000 in fiscal year 2003. The time period covered by these data vary because they reflect updates since GAO last reported on these issues in 2005. Specifically, in 2005, GAO reported that the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons was about 27 percent of the total inmate population from 2001 through 2004.
The study indicates that almost 25 percent of prisoners housed in federal facilities are illegal aliens.
The breakdown of the data includes the following statistical information:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated that as of fiscal year 2009 the total alien — non-U.S.-citizen — population was about 25.3 million, including about 10.8 million aliens without lawful immigration status. Some aliens have been convicted and incarcerated (criminal aliens).
A story in The Hill described the political impact of the GAO’s findings:
The study comes as the immigration debate heats up on Capitol Hill and the White House. President Obama ramped up efforts this week, hosting meetings with key business, faith and political officials on the issue. And Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's immigration task force, is trumpeting the need for immigration reform in speeches across the country.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) used the study to back his push for a fence and a wall that runs along the U.S.-Mexico border as a way to stop people from coming into the country illegally.
Information on the provenance of the criminals highlights how easily lawbreakers pass through the porous southern border. According to the report, about 68 percent of the approximately 51,000 criminal aliens incarcerated in federal prison at the end of December 2010 were citizens of Mexico, and almost 90 percent were citizens of one of eight countries, including Mexico.
Congressman King proposes a familiar solution to the problem:
We have to secure our southern border with a fence, a wall and a fence. That would drastically reduce the ability of criminal aliens to enter the United States, providing needed relief to overburdened state prison systems and to taxpayers. We also have to do a better job of removing criminal aliens who are apprehended.
The anecdotal reports of runaway recidivism among illegal aliens are supported by the figures published in the GAO report.
The data supplied by the GAO reveal that “about 249,000 criminal aliens were arrested about 1.7 million times, averaging about 7 arrests per criminal alien.”
The types of crime being committed over and over by these illegals are serious, says the GAO:
About 50 percent of the criminal aliens in our study population were arrested at least once for either assault, homicide, robbery, a sex offense, or kidnapping. About half of the criminal aliens were arrested at least once for a drug violation.
Despite the rising costs, the federal government continues to subsidize the cost of incarcerating the massive illegal alien criminal population through the program known as the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
The federal government bears these incarceration costs for federal prisons and reimburses states and localities for portions of their costs through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
To compile the data published in the report, the GAO analyzed a random sample of 1,000 criminal aliens.