(AP) SEATTLE – Two Pakistani men were being held on possible immigration violations Wednesday after an airline employee at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport found one of their names on a terrorism-related “no-fly” list, authorities said. Port of Seattle police detained both men Saturday night and turned them over to the FBI.
“We’re looking at how they entered the country. Sometime in the near future they’ll be scheduled for an immigration hearing,” said Michael Milne, a spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
No criminal charges have been filed against the men, whose names were not released. Milne said they were being held for investigation of immigration violations.
One of the men, age 36, had a Canadian driver’s license and paid cash for a one-way ticket to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Seattle Times reported in Wednesday editions. After the airline employee called 911, the man left the counter and left behind his ticket.
The other man, age 29, was carrying a New York driver’s license and also paid cash for a one-way ticket to Kennedy Airport on a different airline, according to police reports.
Both used Pakistani passports, The Times said, citing unidentified sources.
The newspaper said the men told investigators they paid to be smuggled across the border from Canada last month.
The men were taken into custody Saturday night after an American Airlines employee and a ticket agent from another major airline ran their names through the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly database of suspected terrorists and became suspicious.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings, airlines have routinely run security checks on passengers who purchase one-way tickets or buy tickets with cash.
Hundreds of individuals have been briefly detained at airports after their names matched those on the TSA no-fly list, according to TSA records.