Five on small plane detained at StinsonWeb Posted: 01/25/2005 03:04 AM CST
Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News
Four immigrants and a pilot were detained after a Homeland Security Department division helped surround their plane at Stinson Municipal Airport on Monday night.
The five are being investigated in connection with a smuggling operation involving Chinese nationals, said Capt. Jeff Humphrey, San Antonio police special operations commander.
The five had been flying in a single-engine Cessna 172P south of San Antonio.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested help from the San Antonio Police Department, which provided a Chinese linguist to translate for the two male and two female passengers.
A police dispatcher said the craft was brought down at Stinson Municipal Airport just before 10 p.m. Monday.
"They brought a plane down. They are holding it," a San Antonio Police Department dispatcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press early Tuesday. "They asked us to assist them. The FBI is handling it now."
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane is co-owned by Afzal Hameed of Dover, Del., and Alyce S. Taylor.
The government's action comes at a time of heightened awareness.
FBI agents have been looking into an uncorroborated tip that 16 people might be planning an attack on Boston, the Associated Press reported last week. They are 13 Chinese nationals, two Iraqis and a man identified on the FBI's Web site as Jose Ernesto Beltran Quinones, whose nationality was not given.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Friday that he has become "less concerned, not more concerned" about the threat since it was first reported Wednesday.
The original tip was received by the California Highway Patrol, said another federal law enforcement official in Washington who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The tipster claimed that four of the Chinese - two men and two women - entered the United States from Mexico and were awaiting a shipment of "nuclear oxide" that would follow them to Boston.