- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2003

An illegal immigrant who reportedly threatened to poison water supplies in Virginia was nabbed late Tuesday after a shootout in which a state trooper was injured and another man was killed.
Ipolito "Polo" Campos of Accomac on Virginia's Eastern Shore was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Norfolk yesterday on charges of providing false identification and Social Security numbers to employers. Authorities said an informant had alerted them to Mr. Campos' threat.
U.S. Attorney Mike Smithers said additional charges may be filed this week against Mr. Campos, who FBI officials said is between 28 and 38 years old. A preliminary hearing is set for tomorrow.
Mr. Campos "made a statement that he was from an 'Arabian' country and was sent to poison Virginia's water [and] if he did not poison the water, someone would kill him," according to a court affidavit.
State police went to the trailer home Mr. Campos shared with two other men identified by the informant as "Falco" and "Carlos." As troopers approached the trailer about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, one of the men shot a trooper in the arm.
Police returned fire and killed the unidentified gunman, then took Mr. Campos into custody.
The wounded trooper, H.A. Chambers, was in good condition yesterday at a Norfolk hospital, state police spokesman Larry Hill said. Trooper Chambers, 32, is a five-year state police veteran who joined the raid as a member of a tactical squad.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating Mr. Campos' threat, spokesman Michael Barnum said. The task force operates out of the FBI's Norfolk field office and has about 30 personnel, he said.
"We have no information to indicate that there's any threat to the water supply," Mr. Barnum said.
The population on Virgina's Eastern Shore is about 51,000, most of whom rely on private well water, said Paul Berge, executive director of the Accomack-Northampton County Planning District Commission.
Several towns have public water systems. Of those, Chincoteague Island's is the largest, supplying 3,500 residents and an influx of tourists during the summer via a well on the mainland, Mr. Berge said.
Contaminating a water supply would be a difficult task.
"It's a complicated job to truly poison a water supply," said John Hager, homeland security adviser to Gov. Mark R. Warner, Democrat. "On the other hand, it sounds exotic, so the people who make these threats are drawn to the idea because we're so reliant on water for our daily needs."
Mr. Hager said he was satisfied with the water-protection systems in place, which include contamination-detection devices and close communication with local authorities.
He declined to explain what kind of chemicals someone could use to poison a water supply, or how a terrorist might do so.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Campos was employed by Eastern Shore Seafood Products in Mappsville from Dec. 28, 2001, until the end of December 2002, when he was fired for failing a random drug test.
He supplied Eastern Shore Seafood Products with a Social Security card that belonged to someone else and an alien registration number that Immigration and Naturalization Services said did not exist.

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