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Mexican admits terror tip was hoax { January 26 2005 }

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Dirty rat, not bomb - Mexican man admits terror tip was hoax
By Tom Farmer
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Mexican man who reported Boston was targeted for a terrorist nuclear attack confessed he fabricated the story to take revenge on a man who stiffed him in a deal to smuggle illegal aliens, a source said.

``He's admitted it's all a hoax,'' said a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation of Jose Ernesto Beltran Quinones, who was taken into custody Monday along with his son in Mexicali by Mexican police and interviewed by the FBI. ``He admitted he was trying to get back at his employer, who is a human smuggler,'' said the source.

FBI officials in Washington, D.C., released a statement saying Beltran's telephone report last week that two Iraqis and four Chinese nationals planned to detonate a nuclear device in Boston ``had no credibility.'' The FBI had no comment on whether Beltran will face criminal charges. An official in Mexico told the Associated Press that Beltran and his son Jose were released because they had obtained a court injunction preventing their arrest.

``While the threat information proceeded from criminal activity (an alien smuggling operation) there were in fact no terrorist plans or activity under way,'' the FBI said in a statement. Federal officials also said there is no link between 14 Chinese nationals named by Quinones and a group of illegal Chinese immigrants forced to land in a private plane yesterday in San Antonio, Texas.

According to a statement released last night by the Mexican Attorney General's Office, Beltran denied being a smuggler but admitted making the bogus 911 call to the California Highway Patrol Jan. 17. He said he was drunk and under the influence of drugs at the time but the call ``was only a joke.''

The incident sparked a nationwide manhunt and resulted in Gov. Mitt Romney [related, bio] returning to Massachusetts from the presidential inauguration.

``We must take all information we receive about potential terrorist threats seriously until we can prove that they are not credible,'' said Romney's spokeswoman, Shawn Feddeman. ``We are relieved that this has turned out to be unfounded.''

Also relieved was Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who had been skeptical of the threat from the start. ``The mayor is happy the city is safe, and that there's no threat to Boston.'' said mayoral spokesman Seth Gitell.

( The Associated Press contributed to this report. )

13 chinese boston terrorist anonymous tipper not credible { January 23 2005 }
Chinese in boston sought for non existant terror plot { January 20 2005 }
FBI says boston threat a false alarm
Mexican admits terror tip was hoax { January 26 2005 }
Plane forced down with suspicious of chinese dirty bomb

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