I have been traveling, but am somewhat surprised at how little attention the recent multi-country drug bust firmly tying Hezbollah to Latin American drug trafficking structures has received.
This is the clearest publicly-available case that shows how organized criminal groups and terrorist organizations are broadening and strengthening their links. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), responsible for several significant busts recently, led this one too.
The operation has been underway for several years, and has yielded a trove of information on Hezbollah’s ties to the Lebanese diaspora in Latin America, and the money ring that stretches through Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Hong Kong, the United States, Europe and Lebanon. The size of the network, the ability to function across religious and ethnic lines, and ability of all groups to profit from the criminal enterprise should give one pause.
The profits from the sales of drugs went to finance Hezbollah,” said Gladys Sanchez, lead investigator for the special prosecutor’s office in Bogota, in an interview. “This is an example of how narco-trafficking is a theme of interest to all criminal organizations, the FARC, the paramilitaries and terrorists.”