"U.S. Fears Terrorism Via Mexico's Time-Tested Smuggling Routes"
The L.A. Times offers a round-up of stories about terrorists coming from either Canada or Mexico.
According to "U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials" there has been a "security crackdown in recent months as well as new levels of official cross-border cooperation." As with other stories in which U.S. officials are used as a source, this could perhaps be considered an attempt at CYA.
Here are the incidents that may or may not have already been enumerated in Tucson Weekly's "Other Than Mexicans" article:
In August, U.S. authorities issued an alert for a Middle Eastern man who paid what officials said was an unusually large amount of money to be smuggled into the United States near the border town of Tecate, Mexico. He was last seen getting into a waiting black pickup and driving off into the night. Authorities have declined to release further information, or say how they learned how much he paid to be smuggled into the United States...
Of all the leads about the smuggling of potential terrorists from Mexico into the United States, the most intriguing may be the case of a young Lebanese man who was dropped off at a Chula Vista hospital in June 2002.
The man, near death, showed signs of radiation poisoning, suggesting work with a radiological "dirty bomb."In the end, the radiation symptoms were discounted and the man died of undetermined causes. But the case led to the arrest of the owner of a Lebanese restaurant in Tijuana who last year was convicted of operating a smuggling ring, in league with a Mexican diplomat based in Lebanon. U.S. officials estimated that he arranged for the illegal entry of 80 to 200 Arabs into the United States over a period of months.
Then, in July, federal agents arrested an Egyptian man in Miami on charges that he ran a smuggling ring based in the Middle East and Latin America. Ashraf Ahmed Abdallah, 34, was charged with directing migrants from Egypt and neighboring countries to travel to Latin America, and from there to Guatemala, the base of the smuggling operation, where they would be transported through Mexico for entry into the United States.
I think the Lebanese restaurant owner may be the same person discussed in Chapter 3 of the 9/11 Commission Staff Report: "One smuggler, Salim Boughader-Mucharrafille, smuggled Lebanese nationals sympathetic to Hamas and Hizbollah into the United States and relied on corrupt Mexican officials in Beirut, Mexico City and Tijuana to facilitate their travel. Specifically, Boughader obtained Mexican tourist visas from an official at the Mexican embassy in Beirut to facilitate the travel of humans to Mexico..."
The LAT article also includes this (once again remember to consider this might be CYA):
a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement memorandum obtained by The Times says that the Drug Enforcement Administration developed intelligence that Al Qaeda operatives had been in contact with human and drug smuggling rings in Mexico to gain entry into the United States. Homeland Security officials said they had been unable to confirm the information but took it seriously.