New Mexico and federal authorities on Thursday debunked a report claiming that an “Islamic refugee” was apprehended in Luna County with “gas pipeline plans” in her possession.
Judicial Watch – a self-described “conservative, nonpartisan educational foundation” that publishes a news blog – cited anonymous “authorities” and “sources with firsthand knowledge” in its June 15 report claiming that “an undocumented, Middle Eastern woman” was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy with pipeline plans for the Deming area on her person. It does not say an arrest was made.
Neither the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI nor Border Patrol could substantiate the report.
Capt. José Martinez, spokesman for the Luna County Sheriff’s Office: “It didn’t occur. I have no idea where it came from. It didn’t happen here.”
Agent Joe Romero, spokesman for the Border Patrol: “Nobody in any law enforcement agency had any record of anything even remotely close to that. There is nothing in that report that has any merit to it.”
FBI spokesman Frank Fisher in Albuquerque: “We checked into the claims, and they are not substantiated.”
A spokeswoman for Judicial Watch, Jill Farrell, declined to make the unnamed authors of the report available for an interview. She said, “We have highly placed sources” and “three reports from direct witnesses that live in the affected area.”
To back up that claim, Farrell forwarded an email from Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, directed to “Members & Friends,” saying, “I have three reports from either direct witnesses and/or eye witnesses that live in the affected area that say that the Judicial Watch Story is accurate.”
Judicial Watch is the same organization that published a similarly debunked report a year ago in April claiming that an “ISIS camp” – referring to the Islamic State terrorist group waging war in Syria and Iraq – had been discovered in a poor neighborhood in Ciudad Juárez near the U.S. border, citing unnamed “Mexican authorities.”
FBI spokesman Fisher also said that report was unsubstantiated.