Saturday, January 28, 2006

Colombian Passport Ring Disrupted

According to news reports, the Colombian government successfully disrupted a rather large passport falsification ring, which allegedly has some ties with al-Qa’eda and HAMAS. Links to these organizations however are not yet entirely clear, American investigators apparently provided material assistance to the Colombian forces under the operating assumption that it dealt principally with FARC. Ten of those captured have been indicted out of the U.S. for attempting to smuggle FARC members into the country, as of yet there appears to be little evidence that they tied to other terrorist groups. Extradition from Colombia has become something of an interesting practice these days, it’s incredibly easy. Any offense which meets the standard of dual criminality (a crime in both the U.S. and Colombia) is extradictable, and this happens on a rather frequent basis in the drug area. Further investigation and time will illustrate whether al-Qa’eda operations in Latin America will be hindered by the passport bust, in addition to perhaps revealing more on the possible nexus of Latin American human smuggling rings and jihadist organizations. With grossly negligent border procedures for non-Mexicans (known in the border security parlance as: Other Than Mexicans -OTMs), there is a rising fear that these smuggling rings will eventually provide a critical conduit for terrorists into the United States.