Archive for the ‘Smuggled Somalis’ Category

Va. man accused of helping smuggle Somalis into U.S.

By: Freeman Klopott
Examiner Staff Writer
February 23, 2010

Authorities are searching for 270 Somalis believed to have entered the U.S. illegally with the help of a Virginia man who admitted contacts with an Islamic terrorist group.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent said his agency had yet to locate any of the suspected illegal immigrants.

According to an affidavit filed in Alexandria’s federal court, Anthony Joseph Tracy told authorities that he came in contact with the Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab, which announced an alliance with al Qaeda earlier this year.

ICE Agent Thomas Eyre testified during a hearing that authorities are “concerned” about the 35-year-old’s dealings with the group.

In an e-mail, Tracy reportedly wrote, “i helped alot of somalis and most are good but there are some who are bad and i leave them to ALLAH,” the affidavit said.

He has been held without bail. Tracy’s attorney, Geremy Kamens, declined to comment for this story.

Eyre testified that authorities had not yet tracked down any of the Somalis whom Tracy allegedly helped travel to the U.S. The affidavit says Tracy’s e-mails, combined with information on Facebook, show that the Somalis have spread across the country and are living in New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota and Arizona.

Eyre indicated authorities are trying to find the Somalis and determine whether they’re associated with Al-Shabaab. An ICE spokeswoman said she could not comment on an ongoing investigation. The Somalis are believed to have entered the United States through the border with Mexico after making a circuitous trip from Kenya to Dubai to Moscow to Cuba to South America to Mexico and then the U.S., Eyre testified.

Vanessa Parra, a spokeswoman for Refugees International, estimated the trip could cost as much as $30,000. “It would be difficult for most Somalis to get that kind of money,” she said.

Tracy, who moved to Kenya in April from Winchester, is accused of helping the Somalis move to the United States by getting them travel visas to Cuba through contacts he had at the Cuban Embassy, court documents said. The visas were issued using fraudulent information Tracy allegedly provided his contacts. Authorities say Tracy knew that the U.S. was the Somalis’ intended final destination.

fklopott@washingtonexaminer.com

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