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Arizonan Muslim FBI informer and bounty hunter arrested in Mexico

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following article, attributed to Republic staff and wire reports, appeared on page A4 of the Monday May 26, 2003 edition of The Arizona Republic. As enemy
    Message 1 of 2 , May 26, 2003
      The following article, attributed to Republic staff and wire reports,
      appeared on page A4 of the Monday May 26, 2003 edition of The Arizona
      Republic. As enemy agents go, Collins is one strange character.

      --Kevin

      BOUNTY HUNTER ARRESTED IN MEXICO; ASSAULT RIFLE FOUND

      Phoenix bounty hunter Aukai Collins, a former Islamic holy warrior, FBI
      informant and author of <My Jihad>, is in jail in northern Mexico on
      weapons and illegal immigration charges after authorities found an assault
      weapon and grenades in his vehicle.

      Collins, 29, is believed to have been seeking a fugitive from Arizona
      wanted on drug trafficking charges when he was arrested Tuesday by state
      police in the town of Topia, in the northern state of Durango.

      Collins and his companion, Mariel Fernanda Santillan of Argentina, have
      been charged with transporting weapons in violation of Mexico's federal
      firearms law and entering the country illegally, according to the attorney
      general's office in Mexico.

      They were being held Sunday at a jail in Durango.

      Collins told Mexican authorities that he and Santillan crossed the border at
      Nogales.

      A Mexican newspaper reported Collins was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle when
      he was arrested. Police also found six ammunition cartridges containing
      270 rounds, 12 grenades and night-vision equipment.

      A conviction on the federal firearms charges could carry penalties of at least
      ten years in jail, the attorney general's office said.

      At least eight American bail enforcement agents are currently jailed in
      Mexico on a variety of charges, said Bob Burton, Tucson-based head of the
      National Enforcement Agency, a licensing organization for bounty hunters.

      Burton said he did not know why Collins would be carrying such high-powered
      ammunition. The majority of the agency's 1800 licensed agents carry mace,
      a pistol and handcuffs, Burton said.

      Collins was not licensed as a bounty hunter by the National Enforcement
      Agency.

      Burton, who taught Collins at a National Institute of Bail Enforcement
      seminar in Colorado, said he remembers him as arrogant and wrapped up in
      personal crusades.

      Agents are generally discouraged from trying to recover suspects south of the
      border, he said.

      "You don't go to Mexico to pick people up," Burton said. "We have zero
      authority outside the U.S. As soon as we cross the border, we go from an
      American bail recovery agent to a kidnapper."

      Bail enforcement agents traditionally are hired by bail bond companies to
      track people who skipped their court hearings and owe money to the bond
      company. Agents track absconders through credit-card statements, bank
      withdrawals and e-mail transmissions.

      Collins told Mexican authorities that he is a Muslim but that he does not
      belong to any terrorist organization or practice terrorism, the attorney
      general's office said. Charges against Collins and Santillan are not related
      in any way to terrorism, a spokesman for the attorney general's office
      said Sunday.

      In the 2002 memoir <My Jihad>, Collins recounted his journey into the
      world of Islamic extremism, from his jailhouse conversion to Islam as a
      troubled teenager in San Diego to combat in Chechnya and an invitation to
      meet with Osama bin Laden at a terror camp.

      Disillusioned by his experiences abroad, Collins approached the U.S.
      government in 1996 to share information and become a paid informant of the
      FBI.

      The version of events in his book, which cannot be independently verified,
      added to evidence that U.S. intelligence officials missed opportunities to
      unravel the links to terrorists prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks.

      Collins said he gave FBI agents information about Hani Hanjour, a former
      University of Arizona student who piloted the airliner that slammed into the
      Pentagon on September 11th. Collins met Hanjour and other Muslim students
      in the East Valley in 1996. The FBI denies Collins' story.

      While in Chechnya, Collins lost a leg to a land mine, prompting him to
      start the Victims of Land Mines Assistance Group in 1998 while living in
      Chandler.
    • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
      ... Dear Eric, Given that Cuba is a short boatride from the Gusano community in south Florida, it seems unlikely that anti-Cuban activity would go through
      Message 2 of 2 , May 26, 2003
        >
        >Dear Kevin,
        >
        >You may very well be right. I was thinking along
        >those lines too, except that the descriptions of this
        >guy sound like he'd be more trouble to the CIA than
        >he'd be worth. But then, if he screwed up, they can
        >just ditch him and be done with it.
        >
        >You're likely right, however, that pretty soon the
        >Mexicans will be told that this guy is too important
        >to the "war on terror" to leave languishing in some
        >Mexican prison.
        >
        >Who knows what he might have been up to?! The Granma
        >weekly website carried a story a few days ago about
        >how the Miami-based anti-Cuban terrorists planned to
        >put bombs in the Copa Cobana nightclub on three
        >separate occasions in the 1990s and 2000s. The aim
        >was to kill about 100 tourists and blow a big hole in
        >Cuba's tourism industry.
        >
        >Perhaps this mujahid bountyhunter's grenades were
        >destined for Cuba or Venezuela or for some rally in
        >Mexico. Actually the Miami terrorists were planning
        >to use C-4 explosive in Havana, so they probably
        >wouldn't want primitive hand grenades.
        >
        >A one man nut case with an AK-47 and grenades might
        >have appeared useful to cause some provocation
        >somewhere, or maybe even convince the Mexicans that
        >they are being attacked by "terrorists" and so will
        >need to let the Americans take over their secret
        >police -- the way that the US runs security in
        >Pakistan and Yemen apparently.
        >
        >Comradely,
        >
        >Eric

        Dear Eric,

        Given that Cuba is a short boatride from the Gusano
        community in south Florida, it seems unlikely that
        anti-Cuban activity would go through Mexico (unless
        it was an attack on the Cuban embassy in Mexico
        City). One thing does occur to me. Perhaps he was
        a one-man phony Zapatista attack. Conceivably someone
        that well-armed could by himself make a large enough
        attack on some landlord in Chiapas to convince the
        Mexican government that the uprising had begun again
        and that they needed American aid to "fight the
        terrorists". Too bad the Zapatistas aren't really
        fighting. It's not as if things in Mexico were getting
        better for the peasants and Natives.

        Given the real terrorism the Cubans had suffered,
        I wouldn't blame Fidel one bit if he...

        1) Asked the United Nations to impose economic sanctions
        on the USA and asked fleets of member nations to
        blockade the American coast to enforce the sanctions.

        2) Declared portions of Florida south of the 27th
        parallel to be a "no fly zone" and sent Cuban
        aircraft to enforce it.

        3) Declared American anti-aircraft fire and intercept
        flights in south Florida to be an "aggressive act".

        4) Demanded that America destroy its weapons of mass
        destruction and admit U.N. inspectors to verify that
        they had been destroyed.

        5) Declared the 2000 elections fraudulent and say of
        President Bush, "There needs to be a regime change!"

        Comradely,

        Kevin

        :-)
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