However, Federal officials told the press that it's only a rumor that there are Iraqi agents in Mexico armed with biochemical weapons. Meanwhile, Mexican immigration authorities in the border city of Tijuana detained two Iraqi citizens and an alleged immigrant trafficker (who was trying to smuggle them into the United States). Local newspapers reported that the detained men carrying apparently false Austrian travel documents were not apparently linked to any radical groups, but intended to seek political asylum in the United States.
These Iraqis may be Chaldean Christians, who claim persecution by Saddam's regime and that their normally routine requests for U.S. asylum have fallen victim to the widespread mistrust and anxiety, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Chaldean Christians have a fairly large southern California community. In mid-February, Mexican authorities detained six Iraqi citizens claiming to be German citizens who intended to cross into the United States from Tijuana. Immigration authorities sent the Iraqis back to Mexico City for questioning.
There is also a history of Iraqis involved in smuggling illegals into the United States. In April 2001, Mexico extradited Angel Moreno, to the U.S. Moreno, a Mexican Immigration agent indicted by a Federal grand jury in February 1998 for conspiracy to smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S., along with ringleader George Tajirian (aka George the Iraqi) and two others were indicted in this case. Overall, those responsible for the global operation smuggled in 250 Iraqi's and Palestinians into the U.S. through El Paso and collected profits amounting to more than $1.25 Million in 1996 and 1997. These illegal immigrants continued on to New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities. - Adam Geibel
Mexico's tourist areas have increased their security during the Spring tourist season. More than 200 Mexican federal agents have joined local police in patrolling Cancun's streets this month, and officials are checking foreign arrivals for terrorists. Mazatlan and Acapulco, the Mexican army patrols beaches, hotel zones and highways during spring break. Tougher restrictions were imposed on what kinds of ships can use ports from late February through mid-April.