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Somali terror member may be heading to Texas

Somali terror member may be heading to Texas

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 24-year-old Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, a suspected member of the al-Shabaab group, which has declared allegiance to al-Qaida.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Christina Garza said Wednesday she could not share details and U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lloyd Easterling said he "cannot discuss specific intelligence regarding individual groups."
A message left late Wednesday with the federal public defender's office in San Antonio, which is representing Dhakane, was not immediately returned.
The alert was issued after federal prosecutors added new charges earlier this month against Dhakane, a Somali man who had been picked up in Texas 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" 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.


Updated : 2021-02-27 15:26 GMT+08:00