09/03/04 — Air Force sees success of 'Eagle Eyes'

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Air Force sees success of 'Eagle Eyes'

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Published in News on September 3, 2004 2:25 PM

Air Force officials are touting last week's arrests at a Goldsboro motel as evidence of the success of its anti-terrorism program, called Eagle Eyes.

"This goes to show that this program works," said Special Agent Joe Jordan of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. "Eagle Eyes played a large part in the incident last week, and it is very successful in the local community."

Jordan's comments appear in this week's Wright Times newspaper published for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The base received a call from the Best Western Goldsboro Inn on Aug. 24 about suspicious activities that a member of the motel housekeeping staff had seen.

The Special Investigations Office uncovered information, "which may have posed force protection concerns to Seymour Johnson," Wright Times reported. The information was then sent out to various federal, state and local agencies.

It was later determined that no terrorism threat was involved. The five men arrested had no ties to Seymour Johnson, but the tip did lead to the capture of five criminals, Jordan said.

The five men were arrested Aug. 26 at the Best Western Goldsboro Inn. The motel was evacuated and surrounded by officers from various federal agencies, including the FBI. The five men were called out of the two rooms, and they surrendered without a fight.

The rooms were registered under one name of Spanish origin.

Motel employees had been briefed on what to recognize under the Eagle Eyes program and to report suspicious activity to the base.

The motel personnel noticed that the men were frequently out of their rooms and were using cell phones and walkie-talkies.

Base officials came by the motel with a picture of a suspect. And motel officials said it was the same person. Federal agencies established surveillance of the motel before the arrests.

Federal agents have not revealed any further information other than to say it was related to immigration laws. It was at first reported by law enforcement officers that one of the men was wanted for murders committed in Mexico, but that later turned out to be incorrect.

An FBI spokesman said they were wanted for an ongoing immigration investigation, and their names could not be released. He said other arrests were expected.