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PI officials study Zapata's migratory patterns

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - KUAM News has learned that counterterrorism officials in the Philippines have confirmed that a travel inquiry history has been forwarded to authorities in Manila regarding Steve Vincent Zapata being picked-up on Guam after arriving from Japan and Pakistan.  Officials in the Philippines confirmed that a travel inquiry history has been forwarded to authorities here after the arrest of man on the U.S. territory on Guam suspected of having possible ties to terrorist organizations in Southeast Asia.

Reports describe Zapata and a visit to Japan after a trip for 36 days to Paksitan.  Zapata, is currently under the focus of a probe by U.S. federal authorities and possible ties to groups supporting the Al Qaeda terrorism network.

An anti-bomb and DEA search team entered his rented storage unit on Guam and federal authorities have been silent as to what was recovered from the man's belongings.  However, a Philippine National Bureau of Investigation agent in the unit assigned to counterterrorism admitted that a report on Zapata as well as a interagency request for cooperation in investigating the mans past travel in the region is being requested. Philippine counter terrorism Police officials warned also that this is common in arrests where subjects are suspected to having met with or been in areas where terrorists groups are active.

"There is an investigation, and his information has been forwarded to us to verify if he ever has appeared on our radar. At this point that is all we can say," a text message from a U.S. diplomatic officer admitted, but would not go into further details

"At this point it is routine," the diplomatic source said, anonymously.  "That is all we can say; but with a presidential visit to Guam coming, let's just say no one is taking any chances. This is all part of preventive security and being thorough."

After arriving on Guam, Zapata rented a small storage unit in Tamuning. Federal and local authorities executed a search warrant over the weekend. The FBI has since taken over the investigation. Although the feds are keeping a tight lid on their investigation, court documents show that he is accused of making a false statement to authorities.  Zapata is also wanted in California for traffic violations.

He is scheduled to appear back in the District Court of Guam on May 3.

KUAM Philippine correspondent Mike Cohen contributed to this report

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