Terror suspect affirms ISIS cells already in Mexico: Preparing to strike southern U.S.?

A Mexican soldier crouches inside a tunnel found under the Mexico-US border in Tijuana.Reuters

A terrorist suspect in U.S. government custody has affirmed that the Islamic State (ISIS) has "sleeper cells" in Mexico presumably preparing to infiltrate the United States and conduct terrorist strikes, according to the conservative group Judicial Watch.

The report appears to corroborate an article in the Italian website il Giornali in April in which an ISIS leader reportedly made the same claim, boasting that he could get a group of men into the United States "and kill thousands of people in Texas or Arizona within hours," CBN News reports.

The il Giornali article claims that the ISIS is working with Mexican drug cartels. If true, the cartels could easily transport ISIS fighters and weapons across the border to launch a deadly attack on the United States, according to CBN News.

Sheik Mahmood Omar Khabir, the ISIS leader, claimed that he was training thousands of men to fight from an ISIS base on the U.S.-Mexico border near Ciudad Juárez, just a few miles from El Paso.

The existence of the ISIS base has apparently been confirmed by Erick Jamal Hendricks, the 35-year-old terrorist suspect who was arrested and charged in Ohio last week.

The Justice Department has charged Hendricks with conspiring to provide ISIS with material support, stating that the suspect created a sleeper terrorist cell with at least 10 members. Hendricks tried to "recruit people to train together and conduct terrorist attacks in the United States," according to the government's criminal complaint.

Earlier this year, Judicial Watch revealed that the ISIS has already set up camps just a few miles from El Paso, Texas in an area just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Despite the evidence provided by high-level law enforcement, intelligence and military sources on both sides of the border on the existence of Islamic terrorist cells operating in Mexico, the Obama administration has publicly denied it, according to Judicial Watch.

The group says it has also verified that Mexican drug cartels are smuggling foreigners from countries with terrorist links to areas in a rural Texas town.