Fri, Dec 09, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Mexico foils Qaddafi family escape plot

AFP, MEXICO CITY

Mexican authorities said on Wednesday they foiled an audacious bid by one of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s sons to smuggle himself and his family into the country as the regime cracked.

Mexican Government Secretary Alejandro Poire said intelligence officials uncovered an elaborate plan, at the height of pro--democracy protests in the North African nation, to bring Al-Saadi al-Qaddafi and other relatives into Mexico on false papers.

Poire said Mexican authorities had broken up a well-funded international ring that included two Mexicans, a Canadian and a Dane who had bought properties in Mexico “to be used as safe houses.”

On Sept. 6, “Mexican intelligence detected an illegal entry plan by Saadi Qaddafi and his family,” Poire told reporters. “The government avoided that risk and broke up an international network aimed at providing them with false identities as Mexicans.”

The group was preparing to use an extensive network of private flights that would eventually fly Muammar Qaddafi’s relatives to Mexico’s Pacific coast, he said.

Government spokesman Alejandro Sota said Mexico’s “Operation Guest” led to the “capture and disruption of the network, which will face justice for alleged crimes related to the use of false documents, trafficking individuals and organized crime.”

In Washington, US Department of State spokesman Mark Toner welcomed the foiling of the plot.

“We commend the Mexican authorities for their good work,” Toner told reporters.

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