Eight men from Tajikistan with potential ties to ISIS out of central Asia were arrested over the weekend in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News on Tuesday.

The suspects had been on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force radar and were arrested by personnel with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, the sources say.

All eight men crossed through the southern border into the United States and their criminal backgrounds checks came back clean at the time they crossed the border, according to two officials familiar with the matter.

At least two of the men crossed the border in the spring of 2023 and one of those men used the CBP One app, created by the Biden administration to allow migrants to book appointments to claim asylum, those officials say. 

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce has been aware of a potential terror threat originating in central Europe and began monitoring these men as part of that investigation, three sources say. 

A senior U.S. official says the FBI was monitoring the group for several months and kept close tabs on their activities. 

While they have not been charged with a terror connection or plot yet, the FBI alerted ICE they should be arrested because of potential ties to ISIS and they were arrested on immigration charges, two sources say. They are currently detained and are facing removal proceedings before an immigration judge, and they could later face terrorism related charges, two sources say. 

“Over the last few days, ICE agents arrested several non-citizens pursuant to immigration authorities,” the Department of Homeland Security and FBI said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “The actions were carried out in close coordination with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The individuals arrested are detained in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.”

Two people familiar with the matter say the same intelligence that led to the surveillance and arrests of these eight men led to the arrest in April of an Uzbek man in Baltimore with an alleged ISIS connection

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