HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security officials have asked Houston
authorities to watch for a member of a Somalia-based terror group who
may be coming to Texas through Mexico.
The federal department issued an alert last week for a suspected member
of the al-Shabaab group, which has declared allegiance to al-Qaida.
Harris County Sheriff's spokeswoman Christina Garza said Wednesday she
could not share details. U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman
Lloyd Easterling says he "cannot discuss specific intelligence regarding
The alert was issued after federal prosecutors in San Antonio added new
charges earlier this month against a 24-year-old Somali man, Ahmed
Muhammed Dhakane, who had been picked up in Brownsville in 2008.
He pleaded not guilty May 14 in federal court in San Antonio to three
counts of immigration fraud.
Garza confirmed a connection Wednesday between Dhakane's case and the
Homeland Security alert but would not elaborate.
Dhakane is accused of making false statements under oath in support of
his application for asylum.
According to the indictment, Dhakane failed to disclose that he was a
member or associate of the al-Barakat financial transfer network and Al-Ittihad
al-Islami, or the Islamic Union, which wants to impose Islamic law in
Somalia. Both are on the Treasury Department's list of global terrorist
groups with links to al-Qaida, according to the indictment.
The indictment also alleges that Dhakane lied about his movements before
entering the United States in March 2008, that he "participated in and
later ran a large-scale smuggling enterprise out of Brazil" that
smuggled hundreds of people, mostly East Africans, into the United
States. Among those smuggled, according to the indictment, were several
Somalis affiliated with Al-Ittihad al-Islami.
The indictment also alleges he lied when he told officials that a young
girl was his wife, when she actually "was a smuggling client" of his
whom he had never married and had "repeatedly raped and impregnated
prior to coming to the United States." He threatened to have the girl
murdered if U.S. officials learned of the rapes or that he was not her
husband, according to the indictment.
A message was left late Wednesday with the federal public defender's
office in San Antonio, which is representing Dhakane.
Source: AP Thursday, May 27, 2010