New Mexico Police Stop Israelis With Suspicious Cargo
By Michael Shinabery
Alamogordo Daily News
Monday, May 19, 2003
CLOUDCROFT ? That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.
That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.
Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.
"They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before," Green said.
He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.
"We got them out and started digging a little deeper," Green said, "got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago."
When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound.
"But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to," he said. "Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill."
Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, "50 boxes" they claimed was a "private" delivery, but the men insisted they had no "idea what was in them."
At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U-Haul recovered the truck. Contents of the boxes remain unknown, pending investigation.
Washington Police Seize Rental Truck With TNT Traces
Monday, May 13, 2002
By Carl Cameron
A Budget truck was pulled over in Oak Harbor, Wash., last Tuesday near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and found to have traces of TNT on the gearshift and traces of RDX plastic explosive on the steering wheel, Fox News has learned.
Traces of explosives were also found on one of the truck's two occupants.
The FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and local police are all investigating.
Government officials said the roadside stop was so close to the naval air station that military personnel took part in the initial arrest and naval intelligence has alsobeen involved in the subsequent investigation.
Shortly after midnight on May 7, federal officials say local police pulled the vehicle over for speeding. Documents read to Fox News indicate that the driver and passenger told local police they were delivering furniture from California but that authorities doubted the story because of the early morning hour.
A bomb-sniffing dog first detected explosives on one of the men and inside the truck. High-tech equipment was used later to confirm the presence of TNT and RDX plastic explosive.
Documents read to Fox News indicate that both driver and passenger were Israeli nationals. Investigators say a roadside check of the national database of immigration records indicated that one of the men had not entered the country legally, and the other was in violation of his visa. Both men were taken into custody for immigration violations.
At 7:30 that morning local police were notified that the BATF and FBI had tested the truck and found traces of explosives on the steering wheel and gear shift.
Officials say no other charges of been filed against the driver and passenger and an investigation is ongoing.
Authorities say records for the Budget truck do not indicate any recent rental for the purposes of transporting explosives, which would require special permits.