Islamic Refugee Arrested With Gas Pipeline Plans in New Mexico-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Police in New Mexico arrested an undocumented Islamic refugee who had plans to a gas pipeline located in the area.
Local police have said reports of an undocumented Islamic refugee being arrested with gas pipeline plans are false.
The story appeared at Judicial Watch on June 15, days after a terrorist attack left 50 dead at an Orlando nightclub, and under the headline, “’Islamic Refugee’ With Gas Pipeline Plans Arrested in New Mexico Border Country.” The story begins:
Police in a U.S. town bordering Mexico have apprehended an undocumented, Middle Eastern woman in possession of the region’s gas pipeline plans, law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch. Authorities describe the woman as an “Islamic refugee” pulled over during a traffic stop by a deputy sheriff in Luna County, New Mexico which shares a 54-mile border with Mexico. County authorities alerted the U.S. Border Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) has been deployed to the area to investigate, sources with firsthand knowledge of the probe confirm.
The gas pipeline plans in the woman’s possession include the Deming region, law enforcement sources say. Deming is a Luna County city situated about 35 miles north of the Mexican border and 60 miles west of Las Cruces. It has a population of about 15,000. Last year one local publication listed Deming No. 1 on a list of the “ten worst places” to live in New Mexico due to high unemployment , poverty, crime and a horrible public education system. The entire region is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center due to the large amounts of methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and marijuana smuggled through the state by Mexican traffickers. Specifically, the renowned Juárez and Sinaloa cartels operate in the area, the feds affirm in a report.
Given the heightened sense of panic and frustration caused by the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the story quickly went viral.
However, local, state and federal authorities near the border in New Mexico have said that the report is completely false. KRQE News 13 reports that the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol and Luna County Sheriff’s Department all independently shot down the claims:
Luna County Sheriff John Mooradian said officials from the U.S. Border Patrol called him Wednesday, asking if a deputy of his had made the arrest, as the article claimed. Mooradian checked with his patrol supervisor and confirmed none of his deputies made such a stop, let alone an arrest.
Mooradian said he’d likely be fielding calls from concerned people in Luna County who live near the 54-mile border with Mexico.
“Before putting out such an article that could put people in such an uproar, maybe they should confirm their stories,” Mooradian said. “…it’s really unfortunate to our citizens that they have to endure that kind of fear.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Doug Mosier, who works out of the agency’s El Paso office, told KRQE News 13 on Wednesday evening that the agency had “no information that would corroborate these allegations.”
Frank Fisher, a spokesman for the FBI in Albuquerque said on Thursday that agents look into all such reports, but that the Judicial Watch article “does not appear to be substantiated.”
Mooradian said he’d received several inquiries from other agencies, including the office of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. Press aides for Martinez did not return requests for comment from KRQE News 13.
Judicial Watch has been behind previous false reports about terrorist plots and training camps, so this one should have raised questions right off the bat. The site also falsely reported that an ISIS training came had been found in Mexico (click here for our coverage) and that Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines for human papilloma virus (HBV) have caused deaths (click here for our coverage).
This latest report appears to be another example of a story that was completely fabricated to cause panic and fear.