BOSTON (Talon News) — FBI alerts issued Wednesday and Thursday of last week seeking 13 Chinese nationals, 2 Iraqis, and a Hispanic man for questioning in a possible dirty bomb plot initially had the American public on edge. Now the threat seems not quite so worrisome.
The FBI had reportedly received an anonymous tip that the group had illegally entered the country through Mexico, and had plans to detonate a dirty bomb, presumably in Boston. Immediately following the alert, officials promptly pointed out that the tip came from an anonymous source, and that the information could not be corroborated. They urged people to stay calm, but as always, to be aware of their surroundings.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, while downplaying the incident, chose to forego Thursday’s presidential inauguration and return home last Wednesday night to address the potential threat.
Many of Boston’s underground parking garages also immediately began searching cars as they entered their facilities, and city transit employees manning booths which sell subway tokens were given pictures of the initial 4 Chinese that were mentioned in the FBI alert.
Over the weekend, however, it was learned that one of the persons of interest from the tip, Mei Xia Dong, has been in custody at a San Diego area Homeland Security immigration detention facility for the past two months. She apparently was caught trying to enter the country illegally. The anonymous tip had claimed that Dong was a man, lending further speculation as to the validity of the tip.
Officials have intimated that the tipster may be a human smuggler, also known as a coyote, trying to exact revenge on the group, possibly for not paying him for his smuggling services.
Nonetheless, authorities still seek to question the other 15 people named in the initial alerts. Joe Parris, an FBI spokesman, said, “We’re going to investigate it to its natural conclusion.”
When asked by Talon News for further information on the matter, the press representative in charge at the Boston FBI field office, Gail Marcinkiewicz, repeatedly refused comment, referring only to the FBI web site.