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2 suspected terrorists on FBI, DHS watch lists arrested at US border

Images of two Yemeni men on the FBI's Terrorist Watch List, arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (CBP photos/Released)
April 05, 2021

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that within the last two months, it caught two Yemeni nationals, listed on the FBI’s terrorism watch list, trying to cross through the same border sector.

On March 30, at approximately 11:30 p.m., border patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Station arrested a Yemeni man for illegally entering the U.S. The agents caught the man about two miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry and transported him to the El Centro Processing Center for immigration and criminal history screening.

Without providing his name, CBP said they performed a records check on the 26-year-old suspect, identifying him as a Yemeni man on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) No-Fly list.

A similar incident took place two months earlier when, on Janaury 29, border patrol agents caught another Yemeni man trying to enter the U.S. through the El Centro border sector on the California-Mexico border. Border agents apprehended that suspect about three miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry and transported him to the El Centro Processing Center for immigration and criminal history screening.

After performing a check of the man caught in January, border patrol agents determined that 33-year-old man had also been placed on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and on the No-Fly list. Border patrol agents also found the suspect was carrying a cell phone sim card hidden underneath the insole of his shoe.

“Part of the Border Patrol’s mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,” Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino said in a CBP press release. “Today, like every other day, our agents did that. These apprehensions at our border illustrates the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country.”

The suspect caught in January has since been transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The suspect arrested last week is being held in federal custody pending removal.

CBP did not provide details about the two terror suspects when asked by American Military News.

The arrests come amid a surge in border crossings since the start of President Joe Biden’s term. Biden has reversed a number of border protection policies brought by former President Donald Trump.

Last month, Trump criticized Biden‘s handling of the border, saying, “A mass incursion into the country by people who should not be here is happening on an hourly basis, getting worse by the minute.  Many have criminal records, and many others have and are spreading covid.  Interior enforcement has been shut down—criminals that were once promptly removed by our Administration are now being released back onto the street to commit heinous and violent crimes.”

The Biden administration has been apprehensive to call the situation at the border a “crisis.” Last month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did call the border situation a “crisis” before walking back her comments and instead calling it a “challenge.”

Border patrol agents have been alerted to other potential security threats crossing the border in recent weeks. In late March, border patrol agents were reportedly warned of intelligence indicating two illegal immigrants were planning to cross the US-Mexico border and kill a police officer.