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ICE arrests 8 with suspected ISIS ties

8 people with suspected ties to Isis arrested
8 people with suspected ties to ISIS arrested, officials say 01:58

Washington — Federal investigators arrested eight foreign nationals located in the U.S. with alleged ties to the terrorist group ISIS in recent days, multiple officials with knowledge of the operation confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apprehended the Tajikistani nationals in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, and they are currently facing immigration charges, the officials said.

There was no active terror plot, and the sources said information of concern came to the attention of law enforcement at least in part through a wiretap after the individuals had crossed into the U.S.

The news of the apprehensions was first reported by the New York Post.

The arrests occurred within months after FBI Director Christopher Wray warned in April that human smuggling operations at the southern border were bringing in people with possible connections to terror groups.

Sources familiar with the operation said the individuals had been vetted by law enforcement upon entering the U.S., and there was no indication that they had ties to ISIS at the time. Law enforcement subsequently became concerned with their presence in the U.S. and took action, the officials said.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official tells CBS News the eight migrants arrested by ICE crossed the U.S. southern border without proper documents and were subsequently released into the U.S. with notices to appear in immigration court. 

The official confirmed DHS did not have any information linking the migrants to ISIS at the time of their release. They are currently in ICE detention facing deportation proceedings for civil immigration violations.

The official noted that it is very difficult for the U.S. to deport migrants to Tajikistan due to both operational and diplomatic reasons. In fiscal year 2023, ICE deported only 4 migrants to that Central Asian country, according to agency data.

The arrests were carried out in close coordination with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a statement, adding that the individuals who were arrested are in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.  

"As the FBI and DHS have recently described in public and partner bulletins, the U.S. has been in a heightened threat environment," the statement went on to say. "The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security."

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