Authorities have detained a woman who had six pages ripped from her passport and are investigating whether she has ties to terrorist organizations, government officials said Wednesday.
Authorities arrested the woman, who identified herself as Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, on July 19 in Texas, and are trying to confirm her identity and nationality.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, Customs and Border Protection agents questioned Ahmed last week at the airport in McAllen, Texas, after she tried to board a flight to New York.
They discovered that her South African passport had missing pages and lacked a stamp for entry into the United States.
When asked if she had a U.S. visa, Ahmed said she had left it in New York, the affidavit said. According to the affidavit, however, she does not have a current visa.
Michael Shelby, the U.S. attorney in Houston, said Ahmed previously had a visa to the United States and previously had been in the McAllen area.
An itinerary Ahmed carried indicated she had traveled from South Africa to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, then to London, England, and Mexico City, Mexico, the affidavit stated.
Agents testified Ahmed carried a bag containing muddy clothes and dirty shoes, leading them to conclude she had crossed into the United States illegally from Mexico, which she later confirmed.
The AP reported that the affidavit quoted Ahmed as saying, "I did come here illegally. I came through the bush."
Authorities reported Ahmed had more than $7,000, most of it in U.S. currency, when she was detained.
The affidavit said that on July 20 Ahmed, while in custody and without coercion, apologized for lying, admitted illegal entry into the United States and stated someone smuggled her into the country.