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Former police chief recalls foiling terrorism case at border
By Wilson Ring | AP
RICHFORD, Vt. — It was about 2 a.m. on a moonless October night in 1987 when the police chief of a small northern Vermont town spotted a man carrying a black bag and walking down the railroad tracks from Canada toward a waiting van about a mile south of the border.
The man turned out to be linked to a Lebanese extremist group. And in his bag, later recovered from a ditch, were a ski mask and a propane-canister bomb.
“If it had been two minutes later, they would have been in the van and gone on their way, and I’d have never known the difference,” recalled Richford’s long-retired police chief, Richard Jewett, who won numerous awards for apparently foiling an attack. “I guess luck was on my side.”
Whether it was luck or not, Jewett beat the odds in a way. While President Donald Trump, in arguing for a border wall, has said repeatedly that terrorists are slipping across from Mexico, known cases of extremists entering the U.S. through its land borders to the north or the south are exceedingly rare.