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Border Patrol Encountered 98 on Terrorist Watchlist Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border Between Ports of Entry in FY2022

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Newly released data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows 98 foreign nationals on the terrorist watchlist were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border between the ports of entry in the fiscal year of 2022. That’s a tremendous increase up from 15 in fiscal 2021.

“The Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS)—also known as the ‘watchlist’—is the U.S. government’s database that contains sensitive information on known or suspected terrorists (KSTs),” says CBP, “but has evolved over the last decade to include additional individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals.”

The 98 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watchlist is the most “in that category in any of the last six fiscal years.”

In order to understand the severity of this information, here are the numbers for the previous six years:

In fiscal 2017, the Border Patrol encountered 2 on the terrorist watchlist between the ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2018, it encountered 6. In 2019, it encountered 0. In 2020, it encountered 3. In 2021, it encountered 15.

CNS News reports, “The Border Patrol’s 98 encounters with people on the terrorist watchlist between the ports of entry in fiscal 2022 was more than six times the 15 it encountered last year and more than 32 times the 3 it encountered in fiscal 2020.”

As for encounters, fiscal 2021 the CBP had 103 with people on the terrorist watchlist at the ports of entry on U.S.-Mexico border. In fiscal 2020, it had 72; in fiscal 2019, it had 280; in fiscal 2018, it had 155; in fiscal 2017, it had 116.

As for the Northern border, in fiscal 2022, the Office of Field Operations encountered 313 on the terrorist watchlist trying to enter the country at a port of entry, but the Border Patrol did not encounter any individuals trying to enter the country across the Northern border between the ports of entry.

“The 313 encounters with people on the terrorist watchlist at Northern ports of entry was the most in any of the last six years. In fiscal 2017, OFO encountered 217 at ports of entry on Northern border; in fiscal 2018, it encountered 196; in fiscal 2019, it encountered 258; in fiscal 2020, it encountered 124; in fiscal 2021, it encountered 54.”

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Immigration

DOJ federal indictment connects Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese ‘underground banking’

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The Justice Department (DOJ) announced a huge connection between Chinese organized crime and the Sinaloa drug cartel. In a press release the DOJ reported a 10-count superseding indictment charging Los Angeles-based associates of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel with conspiring with money-laundering groups linked to Chinese underground banking to launder drug trafficking proceeds. During the conspiracy, more than $50 million in drug proceeds flowed between the Sinaloa Cartel associates and Chinese underground money exchanges.”

The indictment was the result of a multi-year investigation into the conspiracy—dubbed “Operation Fortune Runner”— unsealed on Monday charging a total of 24 defendants with one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to the press release.

“Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine are destroying people’s lives but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “To protect our community, therefore, it is essential that we go after the sophisticated, international criminal syndicates that launder the drug money. As this indictment and our international actions show, we will be dogged in our pursuit of all those who facilitate destruction in our country and make sure they are held accountable for their actions.”

“Drug traffickers generate immense amounts of cash through their illicit operations. This case is a prime example of Chinese money launderers working hand in hand with drug traffickers to try to legitimize profits generated by drug activities,” said Chief Guy Ficco of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We have made it a priority to identify, disrupt, and dismantle any money launderers working with drug cartels and we are committed to our partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat drug cartels and those who assist them in laundering drug proceeds.”

The Justice.Gov website explains of the indictment: “Following close coordination with the Justice Department, Chinese and Mexican law enforcement informed United States authorities that those countries recently arrested fugitives named in the superseding indictment who fled the United States after they were initially charged last year.”

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