Iraqis nabbed in Mexico, headed to U.S. with fake IDs
Authorities suspect European ring selling counterfeit Bulgarian passports for $10K
Posted: February 21, 2008
10:48 pm Eastern
WASHINGTON Two more Iraqis with false Bulgarian passports were detained by Mexican officials in Monterrey bringing the total to four this month.
Wisam Gorgies, a 34-year-old man, and Rana Nazar Peyoz, a 26-year-old woman, reportedly flew from Madrid and landed in Monterrey, according to reports in two Mexican newspapers today.
Following questioning, the pair admitted they intended to reach the United States. They were taken to Saltillo in the state of Coahuila, for final determination of their status.
Mexican officials said the are investigating “a network that could be made up of Mexicans operating in Greece who are selling false Bulgarian passports for $10,000 to European and Middle Eastern citizens.”
Earlier this month, El Universal, a daily in Mexico City, reported two other Iraqis, Markos Ramy, a 25-year-old man, and Sollem Pate, a 20-year-old woman, presented Bulgarian passports upon arrival at the Monterrey airport after a flight from Spain.
They told customs officials they came as tourists for a couple days. But because they spoke no Bulgarian, their passports were determined to be fraudulent. The Bulgarian consulate did not acknowledge them as citizens and their hotel reservations proved to be phony.
Only after their cover story was blown did the couple admit to being Iraqis. They claimed to be fleeing the war.
Last year, dozens of Iraqis were discovered attempting to enter Monterrey with phony ID 17 of them in a single event.
In addition, earlier this month, Norwegian authorities reported that Iraqis affiliated with al-Qaida and former Baath Party members may have slipped into Kuwait after obtaining $15,000 Norwegian passports. Authorities in Kuwait say they are on the lookout for any Iraqi citizen bearing a Norwegian passport.
The incidents raise the question of whether they are part of an orchestrated campaign by terrorists to enter countries targeted for attacks.
Last October, Kunio Hatoyama, Japan's minister of justice, made an astonishing admission at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo. Asked about a new law that requires foreigners visiting his country to be photographed and fingerprinted, the official said he favored the idea.
“A friend of a friend is a member of al-Qaida,” he said. He explained he had entered Japan numerous times using false passports and disguises. “This particular person was actually involved in the bombings in the center of Bali. Although he is a friend of my friend, I was advised not to go close to the centre of Bali because it will be bombed.”
The fingerprinting policy would prevent such people from entering the country, Hatoyama concluded.
Back in 2004, WND reported that al-Qaida planned to use Mexico as an entry pointinto the U.S. In addition, the 911 commission reported the terrorist network actually owned a travel agency in Mexico.
The commission also concluded that immigration enforcement failures led directly to the 911 attack . At least seven of the 19 hijackers carried false passports.
Also in 2004, WND reported Mexico was not fully cooperating with anti-terrorist efforts because of corruption and red tape inside the government.
That same year, WND reported al-Qaida expanding operations in Mexico and Latin America because of financial pressures brought on by the war on terrorism.
This followed an admission by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that al-Qaida was attempting to smuggle operatives into the U.S. across the Mexican border.
In 2003, WND reported a Mexican smuggling ring specializing in bringing Middle Easterners in the U.S. was discovered.
Paraguay was also reported to be a hub for Arab terrorists.
Just a month after the 911 attack, WND reported on the evidence Arabs were routinely making the trek from Mexico to the U.S.
2008 American News Articles