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FBI: Woman named in Boston probe in custody

She was one of 14 sought after uncorroborated terrorism tip


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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Chinese woman wanted in connection with an alleged terror plot against Boston has been in U.S. custody since mid-November and has no known ties to terrorism, the FBI said Saturday.

Mei Xia Dong, one of 14 people being sought by the agency, was arrested November 11 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents on a suspected immigration violation, the FBI said in a statement posted on its Web site.

She is being held at a facility in San Diego, California, the release said.

A federal investigation "has determined that Mei Xia Dong paid an undisclosed sum to human smugglers to be brought into the United States through Mexico. It appears at this time that Mei Xia Dong's motives for entering the U.S. may have been for economic reasons. The investigation thus far does not tie her to any terrorist group."

She had been identified originally by the FBI as a man.

The FBI stressed that "none of the original and anonymous information linking Mei Xia Dong and the 13 others to terrorism has been corroborated," and there is no proof that there was a terrorist threat against Boston.

Authorities have not disclosed the nature of the alleged threat.

Federal officials want to interview the 14 people, whose names were supplied this week by an anonymous tipster. The informant told law enforcement officials that four Chinese scientists wanted to commit an attack in Boston,

Federal officials identified the four as Zengrong Lin, Guozhi Lin, Wen Quin Zheng and Xiujin Chen. None of their names appeared on government watch lists.

The information was "from a source of unknown reliability and motive, " FBI spokesman Joe Parris said Thursday.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the state's Emergency Management Agency and other law enforcement agencies were at a heightened state of alert.

In addition to the four alleged scientists, the FBI said it is still looking for: Qinquan Lin or Qiquan Lin; Liqiang Liang; Min Xiu Xie; Xiang Wei Liu or Xing Wei Liu; Mei Xia Dong; Xiuming Chen; Cheng Yin Liu; Zao Yun Wang; Jose Ernesto Beltran Quinones; and Yu Xian Weng, a woman.


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