Hezbollah in America...
Some of its latest activities...
Evidence for Hizballah's criminal and terrorist activities in the Western hemisphere continues to build. The implications for the U.S., for Israel, and for Jews globally are ominous. Why, then, is so little attention paid?
• In early July, two men were arrested in Bucharest and two more in the Maldive Islands in a U.S.-orchestrated sting operation. Their purpose: purchasing surface-to-air missiles and other munitions for Hizballah and the Taliban in exchange for hundreds of kilos of heroin. And whence the heroin? In 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department added the Hizballah-linked Lebanese businessman Ayman Joumma to its list of known drug smugglers and money launderers. He and others are accused of laundering up to $200 million per month through Lebanon, West Africa, Colombia, and Panama. Today, Hizballah's role in drug smuggling is expanding, especially as Iranian funding for the organization has dropped.
• Also on the increase are attempts to purchase weapons and funding within the U.S. Weapons cases were uncovered in Philadelphia and New York City in 2009. Three Yemeni men in Rochester were convicted of illegally transferring money to Hizballah in 2009, and cigarette smuggling rings that raised millions of dollars were busted in North Carolina in 2002 and New York in 2003. An Ohio couple, Hor and Amera Akl, pled guilty in 2011 to charges of conspiracy to support Hizballah, including through insurance fraud.
• In July, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against Faouzi Ayoub, formerly of Dearborn, Michigan, accusing him of using a forged U.S. passport in 2000 to travel to Israel at the direction of Hizballah to attempt a terrorist attack. Now on the FBI's most wanted list, he was arrested by Israel in 2001 and exchanged in 2004 along with 436 other prisoners for kidnapped Israeli drug smuggler Elhanan Tannenbaum.
• Again in July, Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, testified before Congress about Hizballah's operations in Latin America. These activities include drug smuggling, money laundering, and proselytizing, as well as radicalizing the region's large Muslim population. Hizballah has long been implicated in the Iranian bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Jewish community center there in 1994. Noriega also documented Iranian and Hizballah connections to the Chavez regime in Venezuela, including the weapons ship Francop, which was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos in 2009 carrying munitions for Hizballah to Syria.
• Also in July, the hacker group LulzSec released a confidential report by the Tucson police department pointing to the 2010 arrest in Mexico of Jameel Nasr, allegedly tasked with creating a Hizballah network in that country. The report noted the recent introduction of vehicle-born improvised explosive devices (a Hizballah trademark), by Mexican drug gangs. Border agents across the American Southwest continue to arrest illegal immigrants deemed "Other Than Mexicans," some of whom sport tattoos of Hizballah symbols.