Suspicious Cell Phone Purchases Continue at Disconcerting Rate

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

9 June 2006: Authorities in Brownsville, Texas are currently investigating suspicious cell phone purchases that took place at four separate Family Dollar Stores in the Brownsville, Texas area. According to police officials, at least two men of Middle Eastern descent suspiciously purchased a large number of untraceable prepaid cell phones at local stores, traveling to different stores to circumvent the two-phone-per-customer limit. The Middle Eastern men purchased at least twenty-(20) TracFone brand cellular telephones. Although legal, they are commonly used for criminal activity because they are nearly impossible to trace by law enforcement officials.While some might wonder about the seriousness of the purchases, these are the same type of phones that were used as detonation devices in the Madrid bombings. As we have been reporting in the HQ INTEL-ALERT Private Intelligence Report, the frequency of instructional postings on web sites frequented by Islamic terrorists involving the use of cell phones as detonators has steadily risen.

Regarding the Texas incident, the men of Arabic appearance were last seen at the Family Dollar store near the corner of Southmost Boulevard and La Villita Street. They were driving a dark blue Jeep Cherokee, registration unknown. Also in that case, the suspects reportedly left behind the telephone chips, chargers and packaging behind at one of the stores, allowing investigators to check for fingerprints and other evidence. The case has been turned over to the FBI for further investigation.

Investigators from the Northeast Intelligence Network have been tracking this trend and can report a dramatic rise in the number of such occurrences over the last 36 months. A recent report listed numerous, specific purchases throughout the U.S. involving thousands of prepaid cellular telephone purchases being made by Middle Eastern males, or husband and wife couples.

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