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July 17, 2007 - Brian Ross and ABC’s Blotter report the FBI is investigating an alleged human smuggling operation based in Chaparral, N.M. According to the report, agents say the group is is bringing “Iraqis and other Middle Eastern” individuals across the Rio Grande from Mexico.An FBI intelligence report distributed by the Washington, D.C. Joint Terrorism Task Force says the illegal ring has been bringing Iraqis across the border illegally for more than a year.Border Patrol officials in the area said they were unaware of the specifics of the FBI’s report, and federal prosecutors in New Mexico told ABC News.com they had no current cases involving the illegal smuggling of Iraqis.
The FBI report, issued last week, says the smuggling organization “used to smuggle Mexicans, but decided to smuggle Iraqi or other Middle Eastern individuals because it was more lucrative.” Each individual would be charged a fee of $20,000 to $25,000, according to the report.
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