Three men arrested in Ghana this week arrived in New York on Friday to face charges of trafficking cocaine through Africa to support terrorist organizations including al Qaeda and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
It was the first time al Qaeda associates had been charged with narco-terrorism, the DEA said, and it was a disturbing reminder of the growing link between drug traffickers and terrorist organizations.
“These narco-terrorists do not respect borders and do not care who they harm with their drug trafficking conspiracies,” DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. “Working with our narcotics law enforcement partners in Ghana and across the globe, DEA is making unprecedented progress in dismantling illicit drug networks in western Africa and around the world.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement that the “allegations reflect the emergence of a worrisome alliance between al Qaeda and transnational narcotics traffickers. As terrorist diversify into drugs, however, they provide us with more opportunities to incapacitate them and cut off the funding for future acts of terror.”
The narco-terrorist suspects included: Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idriss Abelrahman. They were arrested in Ghana on Dec. 16 at the request of the U.S. government, the DEA said.