Iraqis detained on Mexican border
Four Iraqis were detained at an airport in the border city of Mexicali for allegedly carrying false passports, and two more were caught at a highway checkpoint, authorities said.
The four Iraqis arrived Friday at the airport in Mexicali, across from Calexico, California, on a flight from Mexico City and were detained after immigration officials discovered the Dutch passports they were carrying were false, said Abraham Sarabia, an attorney general spokesman in Baja California state, where Mexicali is located.
Alya Kiryakous Dawood Sako, an American citizen and the sister of one of the Iraqis, was also detained and questioned. Dawood was released after immigration officials determined her passport was legitimate but she was turned to immigration officials and is awaiting deportation, Sarabia said.
Sarabia said immigration officials noticed the men became nervous during routine questioning and once in custody of federal authorities they confessed their true identities.
The men were carrying Dutch passports under the names of Richard Richters, who Mexican officials say is Yacer Yoser Hana; Mikel Leewen, who turned out to be Basam Kiryakous; Jan Pieter Drijfhout, who is Basam Toma Jou and Robert Schurtman, whose real name is Sabham Kamel.
"Once in custody they told authorities they intended to sneak into the United States," Sarabia said. "They said they started their journey in Greece, traveled to Spain and then to Mexico City."
The men were being held at a prison in Mexicali pending charges for using false documents.
Also Tuesday, soldiers detained two Iraqi men traveling on Greek passports at a roadside checkpoint near Mexicali.
The two men were traveling aboard a bus bound for Mexicali. However, the photo on one of the men's passport's had been altered; he was also held pending charges, while the other man was held pending deportation.
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