The Mounting Hizbullah Threat in Latin America

(American Enterprise Institute) Roger F. Noriega and Jose R. Cardenas - Hizbullah's capacity to move operatives across the U.S. border was noted in a 2007 Homeland Security Committee staff report on threats along the border: "Members of Hizbullah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization, have already entered to the United States across our Southwest border." Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a Mexican of Lebanese descent who owned a small restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, just south of San Diego, smuggled 200 people, reportedly including Hizbullah supporters, into the U.S. Mahmoud Youssef Kourani pled guilty in 2005 in the U.S. to providing material support to Hizbullah. Kourani had bribed a Mexican official in Beirut for a visa to travel to Mexico. From there, he crossed the U.S. border and made his way to Dearborn, Michigan, where there is a sizable Lebanese expatriate community, and began raising funds for Hizbullah in Lebanon. Hizbullah's other focus is making common cause with drug trafficking networks in Mexico (and elsewhere in the Americas). According to Michael Braun, a former high-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official, Hizbullah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels."

2011-10-07 00:00:00

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