Central American Countries Are Helping Middle Easterners Illegally Enter The United States

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The Federalist

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In December 2018, the Center for Immigration Studies dispatched Senior National Security Fellow Todd Bensman to Panama and Costa Rica to investigate President Donald Trump’s widely ridiculed assertions that suspected terrorists had been apprehended among Middle East migrants through Latin America. Panama is a geographic chokepoint, or bottleneck, through which migrants from countries of the Middle East, who are moving out of South America, must push on their way to the U.S. border.

The following article is based on Bensman’s on-the-ground research over two weeks. His video reports, photos, and writings from the trip can be found here.

Golfito, Costa Rica — It was here in March 2017, at the main aluminum structure of a government migrant camp, that federal Costa Rican police arrested Ibrahim Qoordheen of Somalia as a suspected al Shabaab terrorist operative on his way to the U.S. southern border.

Qoordheen had been smuggled from Zambia to Brazil, passed through Panama, and was making his way north through Costa Rica when the Americans had him arrested here, 20 miles inside Costa Rica, according to an American intelligence official with knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Golfito camp, with a capacity of 250, was set up as a two-day rest station for South America-exiting migrants whom the governments of Panama and Costa Rica register and help move through northward to Nicaragua.

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Golfito migrant camp, Costa Rica where Ibrahim Quoordheen was arrested in 2017. Photos by Todd Bensman.

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Golfito migrant camp, Costa Rica.

Luckily, the Somali stayed long enough for an American intelligence analyst working with the name he had provided in Panama to unscramble it and match it to a pre-existing intelligence file that identified him as intertwined with an al Shabaab cell and smuggling network in Zambia, the U.S. intelligence official said.

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Costa Rica warns Russia is arming Nicaragua

Free Republic

Costa Rica’s top diplomat voiced alarm Sunday that Nicaragua is boosting its military ties to Russia, in his view to the point of dependency.

“Russia is facilitating the arming of Nicaragua — ships — and they have spoken about buying jets and other weapons. I fear problems are in store,” Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo told La Nacion daily.

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Costa Rica Will Stop Sending Cocaine to Miami

Costa Rica Star

According to an official press release from the Organization of Judicial Investigations (OIJ in Spanish), Costa Rica will no longer send cocaine or other controlled substances to the United States, at least for the time being. The announcement comes in the wake of news reports about nearly 24 tons of cocaine transported by the U.S. Air Force to Miami on Saturday, July 27th 2013.

The OIJ further explained that officials in Costa Rica had spoken to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about the temporary lack of an incinerator to destroy seized powder cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs. Prior to the massive airlift of cocaine to Miami in late July, the OIJ had managed to destroy almost 23 tons of drugs over the years at a cement factory in Cartago, but a couple of unfortunate incidents resulted in the stockpiling of confiscated drugs, and the OIJ ended up with too much coke.

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