Five Syrian nationals were detained by Honduran authorities Wednesday after trying to enter the country with stolen Greek passports before supposedly making their way to the United States, Aníbal Baca, a spokesman for the Criminal Police Bureau, said.
The five men are being held by authorities for falsifying documents, Baca said.
“It’s believed they were going to make their way to the United States,” Baca told reporters. “There have been problems at the international level and we have been on high alert.”
A spokesperson for the National Interinstitutional Security Forces, Santos Nolasco, said Monday that Honduras was on alert, local media reported. "The threats are multinational, combatting them is multinational, too," Nolasco said. "There is a lot of emphasis on aerial and maritime patrols, there's also a lot of emphasis on port and airport control, there is also strict control on immigration to our country."
The Syrian men were arrested at Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The passports were stolen in Athens, Greece, two of them belonged to women. The five men traveled from Syria, Lebanon, Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica before landing in Honduras, Baca said.
The world has been on high alert following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, claimed by ISIS. Most of the identified attackers have been French citizens, but a possibly forged Syrian document found at the scene of one of the attacks has spurred fear that ISIS operatives may attempt to smuggle themselves among Syrian refugees.
Baca said the public prosecutors office will determine whether to charge the five men for being in possession of stolen documents after they are fully investigated. Interpol and Honduran immigration officials are confirming their identities.
Earlier this week, a Syrian citizen who had entered Honduras with a forged passport was sent back to Argentina, where his flight to Honduras had originated. According to local press, the name on the passport was Antomios Calinteres Camontepes.
Police on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten arrested three men believed to be Syrian nationals after they tried to enter the country on Saturday using false Greek passports. The flight they were on originated in Haiti, reported the Curacao Chronicle.
BuzzFeed News Mexico bureau chief, Karla Zabludovsky, contributed to this report.
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
Contact Adolfo Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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