(CNN) — Raids by federal agents in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey on Thursday are focused on a system of “cash couriers” who bring money into the United States from overseas, a source close to the investigation said.
Three people were taken into custody, according to a U.S. official — two in Massachusetts and a third in Maine. A statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that three people were taken into custody on alleged immigration violations, but provided no further details.
All three are from Pakistan, according to a U.S. official. One is a so-called “visa overstay.” Another was in the process of being removed from the United States, but had not yet been ordered removed, as he was attempting to adjust his status so that he could stay in the country, the official said.
A federal law enforcement source said the initial two detained were connected to the case, but said they were “collateral” in the sense that they may not have had direct knowledge of or input into the Times Square plot.
Investigators searched locations in and around Boston, Massachusetts, and in New York and New Jersey, a federal law enforcement source said.
Two locations on Long Island were among the targets of the raids, a federal law enforcement source told CNN. The FBI executed search warrants at both locations in Suffolk County, New York, in eastern Long Island, the source said. Tim Motz, a Suffolk County Police spokesman, said officers from that department were assisting federal agents. No arrests had been made.
Some of the money allegedly ferried by the cash couriers is thought to have been made available to finance operations like the abortive Times Square attack. The source close to the investigation said two individuals have been under surveillance at least since Wednesday, but could not confirm that they were two of the three individuals arrested in the raids….