Border Patrol agents stopped a Lebanese migrant at the border near El Paso, Texas, earlier this month who claimed to be a member of Hezbollah and that he was going to New York and was going to try to make a bomb, a Customs and Border Protection official confirmed Monday.

The man is now in U.S. custody and there is an active investigation into him and his claims, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The New York Post first reported that Basel Bassel Ebbadi, 22, had been apprehended trying to cross the border in Texas on March 9, and that he told agents that he had trained with Hezbollah, and said, “I’m going to try to make a bomb.”

In a statement, a CBP spokesperson said, “If an individual poses a potential threat to national security or public safety, we deny admission, detain, remove, or refer them to other federal agencies for further vetting, investigation and/or prosecution as appropriate.”

Hezbollah has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department. NBC News reported in September that border agents had encountered a “growing number of individuals” on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist trying to enter the country via the southern border, according to a threat assessment released by the Department of Homeland Security. 

As of July 2023, 160 migrants whose identities match those on the Terrorist Screening Dataset had been apprehended by CBP trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border during fiscal year 2023, compared to 100 in fiscal year 2022. Overall, the U.S. recorded 2.5 million encounters with migrants trying to cross the border in fiscal 2023.

It was not known if the man apprehended March 9 was on that list.

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