American authorities identified and apprehended three Syrian nationals accused of belonging to al-Qaeda in Dallas, Texas, from Colombia, the Colombian news agency RCN reported on Thursday, publishing images of the three individuals’ fake passports.
According to RCN, American law enforcement identified the three individuals as Al Raefee, Tuameh Tuameh, and Al Harari Al Harari. The three are believed to be in U.S. custody, soon to be charged with membership in a terrorist organization. The men appear to have entered Colombia through Venezuela, where they acquired Colombian residency paperwork, a government identification card, and a Colombian passport through an illegal documentation network.
Journalist Luis Carlos Vélez published images of the counterfeit passports on Twitter, noting that the men appeared to have crossed into Colombia through the La Guajira border crossing with Venezuela. Reports have not yet specified how the Syrians entered Venezuela or how long they had spent in the country after leaving Syria. Vélez reportedly stated that the U.S. embassy identified them as al-Qaeda terrorists when they attempted to procure U.S. visas, which does not align with the RCN report that police arrested them in Dallas. The RCN report does not note if Dallas authorities arrested them at the airport, which would suggest the men did receive U.S. visas and got onboard a flight to the country, or if they arrived by other means.
American authorities reportedly suspected criminal activity after inspecting the passports and finding several irregularities. The identification numbers on all three passports, RCN noted, did not match their birthdates. Colombian passports assign numbers to citizens based on when they were born. Although the youngest of the three men is 45 years old according to his passport, the identification number on his passport corresponded to a much more recently born person, at most 25 years old. – READ MORE