THIS is why we need a border wall and increased border security. No question we have terrorists in the United States who found their way here by crossing our southern border illegally. Border Patrol has found Qurans, Muslim prayer rugs, and Urdu-to-English dictionaries in the desert along the Mexican border.
Most of those entering the US illegally from terrorist countries are being smuggled through Central America, then to Mexico, then across our border. One such smuggling operation was recently busted, its ringleader pleading guilty of smuggling, and awaiting sentencing.
According to The Washington Times, federal authorities wrangled a guilty plea Wednesday from a Brazilian man who ran one of the Western Hemisphere’s more flagrant alien smuggling operations, sneaking dozens of illegal immigrants from terrorism-connected countries into the U.S. from 2014 to 2016.
Sharafat Ali Khan specialized in smuggling illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh over to the West, where they would be staged in Brazil before being sent north to try to penetrate the U.S.
One of the men Khan helped smuggle into the country was an Afghan who authorities said was involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.
Khan appeared in federal court in Washington on Wednesday and agreed to plead guilty to a smuggling conspiracy charge. He will be sentenced this summer and could get up to 46 months in prison, though a lower sentence is likely.
Khan also agreed to accept deportation after he serves his time — though not before making a plea to stay in the U.S.
“I want to stay here. I am a poor person. I would like to stay here if possible. I would like to apply for asylum,” he said, speaking through a translator.
“That’s not part of the agreement,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton replied, saying Khan had signed paperwork promising to assist in his own deportation once his sentence is completed.
“You’re agreeing to go back to your country,” Judge Walton told him.
“Yes, sir,” Khan said.
The case is part of a stepped-up effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shut down some of the smuggling rings that shepherd tens of thousands of people up through Latin America and to the doorstep of the U.S.
But the Khan network stood out because it focused on linking would-be migrants in the Middle East with smugglers in the Western Hemisphere, giving potential terrorists a path into the U.S.
The Washington Times first reported on the smuggling network last year but was asked by law enforcement officials to withhold Khan’s name to preserve the investigation. The Times is still not publishing the names of Khan’s clients or his associates in the smuggling operation.
American officials sniffed out the network by interrogating migrants nabbed at the U.S. border and considered the breakup of Khan’s operation an early success.