Honduras Arrests U.S.-Bound Iranians as New Caravan Heads North from Central American Nation
As hundreds join a new U.S.-bound caravan in Honduras, authorities in the crime-infested Central American nation reveal that four Iranians were recently arrested there. Like thousands of illegal immigrants from around the world, the Iranians entered Honduras illegally and were heading north to the United States, according to a Honduran newspaper article that attributes the information to the president, Juan Orlando Hernández. The Iranians were transported to the capital, Tegucigalpa, and officials have launched an investigation.
Earlier this week Judicial Watch reported on a U.S. alert warning Mexico of armed Iranians planning to enter the country through the southern border, but it’s not clear if the cases are related and calls to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) went unanswered. The bulletin, issued by the Border Patrol’s regional intelligence operation center in Arizona, said that a Guatemalan national may try to smuggle five Middle Easterners—including a suicide bomber—into the U.S. through Mexico. The smuggler and four other men and a woman transited through Guatemala and Belize before reaching Veracruz, Mexico, according to the bulletin. The Guatemalan, whose name is redacted in the government document, was deported from California a year ago. U.S. authorities received the threat after picking up recordings distributed via social media, according to a Spanish-language news story published by a Latin American outlet.
The U.S. alert didn’t faze a busy Mexican border city’s police chief, who confirms the region is full of Middle Easterners, Africans and Asians trekking north. In a Latin American news report published shortly after the U.S. issued the bulletin, Mexicali Police Chief María Elena Andrade Ramírez matter-of-factly said the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia as well as the rest of the Americas is “normal” in her California border city of about a million residents. In a separate article published in a Mexicali paper, authorities downplayed the situation by assuring citizens that the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and the rest of the Americas is “something normal.”
They don’t magically land in Mexico. Central America has long been a popular route for illegal immigrants from terrorist nations who want to reach the U.S. There’s no doubt many will infiltrate the new caravan heading to the Mexican border from the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. President Hernández says some 70,000 immigrants from these countries cross through Honduras annually, even without an organized caravan. When the first Central American caravan launched from Honduras in the fall of 2018, then Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales confirmed that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists had been apprehended in Guatemala. Like its Honduran neighbor, Guatemala too is a major smuggling corridor for foreigners from African and Asian countries making their way into the U.S. In 2017, Guatemala’s largest paper, Prensa Libra, published an in-depth piece on the inner workings of an international human smuggling network that moves migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh to the U.S.
Over the summer four ISIS terrorists planning to enter the U.S. through Mexico were captured by the Nicaraguan military in a remote area where the men entered the country illegally from Costa Rica. Nicaraguan authorities identified the men as two Egyptian nationals—33-year old Mohamed Ibrahim and 26-year-old Mahmoud Samy Eissa—and two Iraqis, 41-year-old Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury and 29-year-old Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob. The men arrived in Panama on May 12 and in Costa Rica on June 9, according to an article published in Nicaragua’s largest newspaper.