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Six Middle Eastern men detained near border

Published: Nov. 19, 2015 at 7:39 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2016 at 7:52 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Six Middle Eastern men are in federal custody after being apprehended near the border, authorities said.

U.S. Border Patrol agents on Monday stopped the six men, who were with two accused smugglers, in Sonoita, Arizona. Sonoita is located in Santa Cruz County County and about 35 miles from the border.

"This latest incident only reinforces the need to take our national security seriously on all fronts," said Gov. Doug Ducey. "News like this is very troubling, especially in light of new threats on the United States from ISIS in a video released in just the last 24 hours."

Border Patrol agents said they are not surprised, however.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, border patrol agents detained about one Pakistani per day at the border in 2013.

During the same time frame, agents caught 70 people from Afghanistan, almost 400 from England and more than 800 from Vietnam.

Highlights Of Immigrants Detained By U.S. 2011-13
Country201120122013
Afghanistan1119870
Iraq285244169
Syria1145772
Pakistan538448388
England518448388
Trindad & Tobago596498419
Vietnam1,4131,313875

An official with the Department of Homeland Security said one of the men was from Afghanistan while the other five were from Pakistan.

"Agents processed the six individuals and checked their identities against numerous law enforcement and national security related databases," DHS said in a news release. "Records checks revealed no derogatory information about the individuals."

Tim Foley knows the Sonoran Desert better than any Border Patrol agent.

"I have walked every single one of these mountains. I know the trails," he said.

Foley is the founder of Arizona Border Recon -- a group of ex-military volunteers who act as the eyes and ears for understaffed Border Patrol agents in the area.

Foley and his group have seen the drug scouts, come face to face with illegal immigrants and logged all the trash they have left behind.

It's not just cans of food and worn backpacks, he said.

"Korans, prayer rugs," he said. "Right up the road here one of the ranch hands had a Muslim with a prayer rug over his shoulder and chest length beard cut square walk up to him and ask for water."

Foley has one message for those trying to cross the border illegally.

"If you want a better life then go through the front door," Foley said. "Do it the right way. Don't come sneaking underneath in through the back door through the window because that makes you suspect."

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