Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Homeland Security "UPDATE"

A group of suspected illegal immigrants was being questioned early Tuesday after federal officials forced their single-engine plane to land here. The Cessna carried at least four suspected illegal immigrants who were detained along with the craft's pilot by homeland security officials in connection with a possible smuggling operation, according to newspaper and broadcast reports.

``They brought a plane down. They are holding it,'' a San Antonio Police Department dispatcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press. ``They asked us to assist them. The FBI is handling it now.''

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials asked for backup from San Antonio police, who provided a Chinese linguist to translate for the two male and two female passengers. Records of the Federal Aviation Administration show the 20-year-old plane is co-owned by Afzal Hameed of Dover, Del. The other co-owner is listed as Alyce S. Taylor, but no address is given for her. The FAA records state that the plane's last three-year registration was filed in 1999, and that the agency received no response in 2002 after mailing new registration forms to Hameed.