Venezuela illegally issued nearly 10,000 false passports to Middle Eastern citizens former director of the country’s migration office Colonel Vladimir Medrano Rengifo told a Florida-based Spanish language newspaper.
Many of the fake passports and visas were distributed through Venezuela’s embassy in Damascus, the capital of Syria.
“Today we don’t know where these people are, nor what they are doing,” the official said according to the Miami Herald. “They can be anywhere in the world, traveling with Venezuelan documentation.”
Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, a child of Syrian immigrants to Venezuela, reportedly spearheaded the passport scheme. The U.S. government sanctioned Aissami in early February for “for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.”
Aissami allegedly ordered customs officials to issue passports previously linked to deceased individuals and directed officials to allow Syrians with improper documentation into the country.
“The passports were legitimate,” the official explained. “The people who carried the documents were not really Venezuelan.”
The fake Venezuelan passports highlight possible security verification problems with immigrants from terror rife countries. Iraqi Security Forces reportedly found dozens of blank Iraqi passports in an abandoned safe house in Mosul in early February, according to Fox News.
Then-FBI Director James Comey feared in June that defeating ISIS would make it even more dangerous because “through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of really dangerous people.”
Comey called the phenomenon a “terrorist diaspora” and drew a parallel to the spread of al-Qaida fighters after the Afghan jihad in the late 1980s and 1990s, saying the defeated ISIS fighters will be “10 times that or more.”
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