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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Unusual illegal border crossing draws attention of U.S. officials

August 3, 2004
Authorities in California were on the lookout Tuesday for a man believed to be from the Middle East who paid a higher-than-usual smuggling fee to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, but officials said the case had no connection to terrorism. ...

The man, who was not identified, entered the United States Monday near Tecate, Mexico - a small border crossing station about 70 miles east of San Diego. It was unclear how he crossed the border. Once across, the man got into a Ford F150 pickup, according to a witness who alerted U.S. immigration officials. Agents said they believed the information to be credible, Mack said.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement learned the man had paid more than the typical $1,500 to $2,000 smuggling fee and notified the California Highway Patrol, which put out a "soft lookout" - a lower-priorty alert - for the Interstate 5 corridor. ... The man got into a 2000 Ford pickup with California plates, Mack said. Department of Motor Vehicle records show the plate was registered to a Yolanda Rodriguez. The vehicle was believed to be headed to Northern California. FR Reprint.

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