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Authorities Say DEA Cases Show Growing Link Between Drugs and Terrorism

Authorities in New York announce indictments/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The DEA on Tuesday announced two narco-terrorism stings out of New York that authorities say shows the growing link between drugs and terrorism.

Authorities say the case involved Hizballah, the group based in Lebanon and the Taliban.

“Today’s indictments provide fresh evidence of what many of us have been saying for some time: that there is a growing nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism, a nexus that increasingly poses a clear and present danger to our national security,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Combating this lethal threat requires a bold and proactive approach. And as crime increasingly goes global, and national security threats remain global, the long arm of the law has to get even longer.”

The first indictment alleged that  Siavosh Henareh, Bachar Wehbe, and Cetin Aksu conspired to provide support to Hizballah. In the Hizballah case, authorities say suspects were busted for agreeing to acquire $9.5 Million Worth of Surface-to-Air Missiles and weapons for Hizballah, the Lebanese-based organization.

The second indictment charged Taza Gul Alizai (“Gul”) for narco-terrorism conspiracy, narco-terrorism, and heroin importation for allegedly supplying of 15 kilograms of heroin and six AK-47 assault rifles to a DEA confidential source  he believed  believed represented the Taliban.

Henareh and Aksu were arrested Monday in Bucharest, Romania, where they were detained pending extradition to the United States, authorities said .Wehbe and Gul were arrested Monday  in the Republic of the Maldives, and arrived in the Southern District of New York earlier Tuesday.

In the Hizballah case, authorities alleged that beginning in June 2010, Henareh had a series of meetings in countries including Turkey, Romania, and Greece with DEA confidential sources — at least one of whom represented themselves as representatives of Hizballah.

Authorities say  Henareh agreed to arrange the importation of hundreds of kilograms of high‑quality heroin into the United States. The confidential source indicated to Henareh that the profits from the sale of the heroin in the United States would be used, among other things, to purchase weapons for Hizballah.

The  DEA sources were introduced to Aksu and Wehbe. In February 2011, in Romania, Cyprus, Malaysia, and elsewhere, Aksu and Wehbe agreed to purchase military‑grade weaponry from confidential DEA sources on behalf of  Hizballah. In those meetings, and in telephone calls and email messages, Aksu and Wehbe discussed the purchase of American-made Stinger surface-to-air missiles (“SAMs”), Igla SAMs, AK‑47 and M4 assault rifles, M107 .50 caliber sniper rifles, and ammunition, from among other places, an American base in Germany.

On June 13, 2011, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aksu and Wehbe signed a written contract for the purchase of 48 American-made Stinger SAMs, 100 Igla SAMs, 5,000 AK‑47 assault rifles, 1,000 M4 rifles, and 1,000 Glock handguns, for a total price of approximately $9.5 million.


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