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'Port of Miami is safe' officials say after scare

Story Highlights

NEW: Incident blamed partly on "language barrier"
Incident unrelated to terrorism, officials said
FBI still questioning three who tried to enter port
• Police: truck driven by 20-year-old Iraqi did not have correct paperwork
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The Port of Miami is safe said police after investigating three men who tried to enter a secure area in a truck without proper documentation.

"After a thorough investigation we are here to tell you that the Port of Miami is safe," said Lt. Nancy Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

"At no time was the port closed. All cargo and cruise operations continued uninterrupted," she said.

FBI agents were still questioning the men Sunday evening, but a law enforcement source told CNN the incident does not appear to be related to terrorism.

About 8 a.m. the driver of an 18-wheeler loaded with electrical supplies approached the port's main entrance.

The driver, a 20-year-old Iraqi, was unable to produce required paperwork to enter the port, according Goldberg. (Watch local and federal authorities answer questions about the incident Video)

The driver did not have the standard seaport-issued identification card, she said.

The security officer then directed the man to pick up a one-day pass from a nearby inspection station.

At the inspection station, a Miami-Dade police officer discovered two other men in the cab of the truck.

The discovery sparked alarm, and the three men were detained.

Goldberg disputed an earlier report that the two other men in the cab of the truck had been hiding, but said the driver had initially told the security guard he was alone.

She added, "Apparently, there was some sort of miscommunication between them; maybe it could have been a language barrier."

The men in the truck -- who are lawful permanent U.S. residents -- speak "some English," she said.

Two had Michigan driver's licenses, but the third had no identification, which "raised our level of concern," she said. Two of the men are brothers and the third is a friend. All three work for a company in Dearborn, Michigan, she said. She did not disclose the name of the company.

Once the other two passengers were discovered port authorities exercised "an abundance of caution" and called in federal agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard and the FBI, Goldberg said.

While the men were questioned by the FBI, port officials used a gamma-ray scanner to examine the truck's cargo. They determined the contents of the container -- 22 pallets of electrical automotive parts -- matched the truck's paperwork, Goldberg said.

Earlier, a federal law enforcement source told CNN that the contents did not match the required paperwork.

Goldberg credited "checks and balances at the port" for resolving in a few hours what "would have taken us three or four days" in years past.

None of the men have been charged with anything yet, she said.

Sunday is typically a busy day for cruise ships at the port: Passengers come ashore from ships in the morning and new passengers arrive for late afternoon departures.

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Patrick Oppmann contributed to this story.

Three people were detained Sunday after a truck driven by an Iraqi allegedly tried to enter the Port of Miami illegally.



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