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FBI tracking Uzbek nationals brought to U.S. by smuggler with ties to ISIS

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ISIS operatives

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is concerned over Uzbek nationals who recently sought asylum and got into the United States earlier this year. The U.S. National Security Council said the bureau is tracking the individuals who intelligence officials say were brought to the United States southern border from a smuggler with ties to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).

“While the FBI has not identified a specific terrorism plot associated with foreign nationals who recently entered the U.S. at the southern border, we always work with our field offices across the country, as well as our domestic and international partners, to identify any potential illegal activity or terrorism threats,” the FBI told The Foreign Desk.

The FBI learned about the smuggling network later, discovering that it was helping Uzbeks in the homeland, with one individual having ties to ISIS. The FBI has begun a nationwide search for the migrants, working with Turkish officials, who arrested the smuggler and other members of the illegal network, reports  The Foreign Desk.

The report continued to say, U.S. intelligence officials say the smuggler most likely did not assist the migrants on orders from ISIS. The smuggled Uzbeks who have come into the homeland have not been located, and those tracked by the FBI are undergoing strict scrutiny as potential criminal threats.

NSC spokesman Adrienne Watson said officials were working to “identify and assess” the individuals who obtained entry into the homeland. “There was no indication and remains no indication that any of the individuals facilitated by this network have a connection to a foreign terrorist organization or are engaged in plotting a terrorist attack in the U.S.,” Watson said.

According to reports, U.S. authorities said the migrants requested asylum at the U.S. southern border with Mexico in 2023 and were screened by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Officials say nothing in the U.S. intelligence community’s databases revealed any red flags, and they were released into the homeland pending legal proceedings.

“As always, we ask anyone with information about federal crimes or threats to public safety to report it to the FBI,” an FBI spokesperson told The Foreign Desk. “Whenever we have indicators that criminal actors—such as those involved in human smuggling—have connections to terrorism, we work diligently with our partners to investigate and understand how foreign terrorist organizations may attempt to exploit their capabilities so that we can best mitigate any risk to the American public,” the official added.

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Immigration

$18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Otay Mesa Commercial Facility discovered $18 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of squash.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) revealed in a press release on Monday, at approximately 6:47 a.m.,that CBP officers encountered a 44-year-old male driving a commercial tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested for squash. The driver, a valid border crossing card holder, was referred for further examination by CBP officers along with the tractor-trailer and shipment.

Non-intrusive scanning technology was utilized to conduct a full scan of the tractor trailer which showed irregularities and CBP officers requested a CBP human and narcotics detection canine. The canine team responded and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics.

A total of 1,419 packages concealed within the shipment of squash was discovered and extracted. The narcotics were tested and identified as methamphetamine with a total weight of 11,469 pounds with an estimated street value of $18,350,400.

“Our officers’ commitment to duty, excellence, and the safety of our nation is truly commendable. These results serve as an outstanding display of effectiveness in thwarting the illegal importation of narcotics,” stated Rosa E. Hernandez, Otay Mesa Area Port Director. “Their exceptional efforts truly embody the highest standards of service.”

The seizures are part of Operation Apollo, a holistic counter-fentanyl effort that began on October 26, 2023 in southern California, and expanded to Arizona on April 10, 2024, the CBP release reveals. Operation Apollo focuses on intelligence collection and partnerships, and utilizes local CBP field assets augmented by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to boost resources, increase collaboration, and target the smuggling of fentanyl into the United States.

The CDC states that more than 150 people die every day from drug overdoses related to synthetic opioids derived from fentanyl.

 

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