Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cash Couriers Target of Northeast FBI Raids

Via -

Raids by federal agents in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey on Thursday are focused on a system of "cash couriers" who bring money into the United States from overseas, a source close to the investigation said.

Three people were taken into custody, according to a U.S. official -- two in Massachusetts and a third in Maine. A statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that three people were taken into custody on alleged immigration violations, but provided no further details.

A second federal law enforcement source said the initial two detained have no direct connection to the Times Square bombing investigation, and their arrests were considered "collateral."

Investigators searched locations in and around Boston, Massachusetts, and in New York and New Jersey, a federal law enforcement source said.

Two locations on Long Island were among the targets of the raids, a federal law enforcement source told CNN. The FBI executed search warrants at both locations in Suffolk County, New York, in eastern Long Island, the source said. Tim Motz, a Suffolk County Police spokesman, said officers from that department were assisting federal agents. No arrests had been made.

Some of the money allegedly ferried by the cash couriers is thought to have been made available to finance operations like the abortive Times Square attack. The source close to the investigation said two individuals have been under surveillance at least since Wednesday, but could not confirm that they were two of the three individuals arrested in the raids.

The source said there is no direct evidence connecting those under surveillance to the Times Square attempted bombing, but they are being investigated for possible links.

"These searches are the product of evidence that has been gathered in the investigation since the attempted Times Square bombing and do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or active plot against the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. "I share that information just to indicate that this is an ongoing investigation and that we are actively pursuing all those who were involved in it."

One of the searches took place in Watertown, Massachusetts, according to a federal law enforcement official. CNN affiliate WCVB-TV reported that two people were taken into custody in Watertown.

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