Hezbollah connecting in Latin America money laundering sting
Three Hezbollah associates face charges on suspicion of laundering drug money for the Colombian cartel
Three Hezbollah associates face charges on suspicion of laundering drug money for the Colombian cartel after it was claimed they illegally moved $500,000 into Miami banks in a series of international transactions, the Miami herald has reported.
The ring leader is a 31-year-old man called Mohammad Ahmad Ammar, who was living in Medellín, Colombia, the report added. He was booked last week with state felony money laundering charges.
The other two face charges in the same case, one of whom is in custody in Paris, while the other remains at large, possibly in Lebanon or Nigeria, the report added.
This latest bust underscores the increased attention being turned on the role of Middle Eastern terror groups using Latin American financial networks to raise revenue from drug money. The report added that radical Islam terror groups from the Middle East have become increasingly active in the region.
“Drug dealers, potential terrorists and money launderers should all get the message that Miami-Dade County is not the place to do your dirty business,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.
A congressional report published in November 2012 on border security noted that Latin America has “become a money laundering and major fundraising center” for Hezbollah, the report added.
There are records dating back several years that seem to show that Hezbollah has been active in the region for some time.
Ammar , who is now in custody in Miami is described in court documents as a “Hezbollah associate whose job was to launder money for the Colombian cocaine operation known as La Oficina, or The Office, an off-shoot of the notorious Medellín cartel”.
It is also claimed in court documents that his father is a “well-connected Hezbollah associate living in Los Angeles”.
Also facing charges is suspected Hezbollah associate, Ghassan Diab, who remains at large, possibly in Nigeria or Lebanon.
The third man facing charges is Hassan Mohsen Mansour, another Hezbollah associate with dual Lebanese and Canadian citizenship, who is in custody in Paris.