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Tag: Hezbollah

Fox News: Former DEA Official: Holder Was ‘Very Alarmed’ About Hezbollah Probe’s Findings, But There Was No Follow-Up

The Hill: Why Trump Needs to Appoint a New DEA Head to Combat Opioid Crisis

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s declaration of war against the opioid crisis is missing a critical weapon – the appointment of a new DEA administrator.

So says Emanuele Ottolegnhi, an opinion contributor to The Hill.

Ottolegnhi writes:

The new DEA administrator should have a clear vision for addressing the international dimension of the drug crisis, as well as the wreckage at home. In particular, the president should choose a DEA chief who not only understands the complex and global nature of drug cartels but is also cognizant of the growing convergence between transnational organized crime and terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

On that front, the first item on the new chief’s agenda should be to remove the handcuffs the Obama administration put on the DEA’s efforts to fight Hezbollah, for fear of scuttling the nascent Iran nuclear deal.

In the past decade, Hezbollah’s growing involvement in transnational organized crime has evolved into a multi-billion dollar global enterprise endorsed and coordinated by the group’s top leaders. Hezbollah’s involvement in producing and selling counterfeit medicines such as Captagon — a powerful amphetamine — is well documented and so is its growing involvement in cocaine trafficking.

Cocaine consumption has not reached the pandemic levels of the opioid crisis but is nonetheless an acute and growing threat. The use and availability of cocaine is on the rise; overdose deaths in 2015 were the highest since 2007. Less well understood are the close ties between cocaine trafficking and terrorism. One clear illustration is the recent extradition, from Paraguay to Miami, of suspected Hezbollah drug trafficker Ali Chamas. Court documents show that he was part of a larger network, likely based in Colombia. At the time of his arrest, he was conspiring to export as many as 100 kilos of cocaine a month to the U.S by air cargo.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Hezbollah Accused of Purchasing Weapons Through International Drug Trafficking

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is purchasing weapons for activity in Syria by using cash from international drug trafficking and money laundering, CBS News reports. 

As a result, the DEA said it’s involved in “significant enforcement activity” against Hezbollah.

Dubbed “Project Cassandra,” the law enforcement efforts are targeting Hezbollah for supplying drugs to the U.S. and Europe.

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is working with South American drug cartels to distribute cocaine.

“These drug trafficking and money laundering schemes… provide a revenue and weapons stream for an international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the word,” DEA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley said in a statement.”

  

New Generation of FBI Agents Adds Youth, Passion to Fight Global Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It hasn’t been long since the FBI’s primary focus was putting away bank robbers, kidnappers and gang members.

That focus has dramatically shifted in the post-9/11 era, creating a new generation of counterterrorism experts who know the ins and outs of al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Newsweek reports.

Most of the counterterrorism experts are in their mid- to late-40s – a relatively young age for agents with their responsibilities.

“The last generation was more reactive,” an intelligence expert said, “and the current guys are extremely proactive. I think they will initiate things just to find out if there’s something there, as opposed to waiting and seeing.”

Leading the group of experts is Andrew McCabe, head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. He’s 45 and rose to the top by acquiring in-depth knowledge of terrorism, Newsweek wrote.

Detroit’s U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade Knew Feds Would Be Subject to Some Ridicule in Hoffa Dig

Featured_mcquade3_6597U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Things haven’t been dull for Barbara McQuade.

Right after being sworn in as the Detroit U.S. Attorney in January 2010, she started dealing with the “Underwear Bomber” case involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate an explosive aboard a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas day.

Later that year, her office indicted ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

This year, her staff scored a major victory, convicting Kilpatrick, his buddy Bobby Ferguson and his dad Bernard Kilpatrick.  She was involved in the decision that lead to the FBI digging for Jimmy Hoffa in June. And her prosecutors continue to investigate corruption in Wayne County government.

In a wide-ranging interview, McQuade, who has been a prosecutor in the office for 15 years,  sat down with Deadline Detroit to talk about public corruption, terrorism,  Hezbollah’s links to Metro Detroit,  Kwame Kilpatrick’s upcoming sentencing, the Hoffa mystery, the credibility of ex-mobster Tony Zerilli who provided the latest tip as to Hoffa’s whereabouts, and what went into the decision to dig for the legendary union leader recently in Oakland Township.

“We knew there’d be some ridicule, like ‘Oh my gosh, they’re digging for Hoffa again,” she says.

The following interview was condensed and the questions were edited for clarity.

DD: Can we expect more indictments out of City Hall?

McQuade: I don’t know about city hall per se. I guess I wouldn’t want to comment on that. The pension fund case is pending and we’ll go to trial early part of next year. It’s no secret that we’re currently investigating Wayne County government because that has all been very public despite our efforts to do our best make sure we protect the integrity of people involved in that investigation. I think there have been six defendants convicted to date in that investigation.

DD: I noticed in the paper that former U.S. Attorney Jeff Collins, who works for Bob Ficano, has asked you for a letter for Ficano saying he’s not a target of the investigation. Apparently he’s not gotten one. Is there a reason not to issue a letter?

McQuade: I don’t want to comment on that other than we are investigating all aspects of Wayne County and we don’t know yet where the evidence may lead us. So people should not infer anything positive or negative from that.

DD:  It’s unusual for a federal judge to detain a defendant in a white collar case before sentencing. Were you surprised Judge Nancy Edmunds detained Kwame Kilpatrick?

McQuade: We thought we had a reasonable chance of that outcome.  I don’t know I expected that outcome. I wasn’t stunned in light of the history he had in the state court with flouting court orders.

DD: Have you seen that before in a white collar case?

McQuade: From time to time people get detained in white collar cases. I agree with you that it is more rare. There was no argument that he was a danger to the community and more often, those are the kind of defendants who get detained.  This was more along the lines of risk of flight and a history of not complying with court orders.

DD: How involved was the Justice Department with the Kwame case and how worried were they about pulling the trigger and indicting?

McQuade: Not much at all.  The Justice Department does get involved in certain kinds of cases with national implications. For example, the Abdulatalab case (Underwear Bomber), which was an international terrorism case. They were very involved in that and wanted to be kept apprised at every step of the way and we needed approval from them every step of the way.  The Kilpatrick case much less so. Really we were notifying them of significant events in that case.  But other than that, they really let us run that case on our own.

Featured_22_33_49_874_bernard_kilpatrickBernard Kilpatrick

DD: You indicted Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame’s dad, who worked as a business consultant for city contractors. I know prosecutors sometimes worry the jury might be more sympathetic when they see a family unit on trial.  Was that something that was debated?

McQuade: I guess I don’t want to talk about specifics of what we debated. But you’re absolutely right that those are always the kinds of things that you think about: How does this affect the jury’s perception of the case? Are we overreaching in any way? But we felt very strongly about charging Bernard Kilpatrick because we thought the evidence against him was very strong. Ultimately, the jury was hung on him with respect to RICO charges but did convict him of the tax charges. There was wire tap evidence, video evidence, that we thought was very strong that (showed) he was just not a participant but a leader in this activity.

DD: Do you think in his case or others the laws involving lobbying and consulting are too vague?

McQuade: Well, sometimes the lines are unclear about what is permitted and what is not permitted. But the evidence we thought in this case was very strong that there was no gray matter, that this was misconduct. But as I said, reasonable minds can disagree.

DD: A lot of people were happy to see the indictment, but some supporters of his  wondered if it was racially motivated. Did you feel pressure if he walked that it would bolster his cries of racism?

McQuade: I wasn’t worried about it. Defendants always have some argument about why they’re being unfairly targeted.  That’s a fairly common tactic. Certainly it was an important case for the city of Detroit. And so we did feel strongly and had great hopes the jury would see it our way and convict him.  If he had not been held accountable I think it would have sent a terrible message to the entire city of Detroit and the entire community.

To read full interview click here.

Sentencing for 2nd Half of Ohio Couple Guilty of Funding Hizbollah

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

The upside is both the husband and wife will know where one another is at all times. The Ohio couple is serving time for trying to fund Hizbollah’s terrorist efforts against Israel.

Hor I. Akl was sentenced yesterday to 75 months in prison for scheming with wife Amera to send hundreds of thousands of dollars to the designated foreign terrorist organization Hizballah, announced Ohio U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Division Stephen Anthony.

The two plotted with a confidential source working for the FBI in 2009-10 to hide bundles of money in a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, then send the car on a container ship to Lebanese Hizbollah leaders.

Amera Akl, who told the FBI source she dreamed of martyring herself, is currently serving a 40 month sentence for conspiracy.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations, and stopping the flow is a key component to choking off these organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach.

Detroit FBI Agent Concerned About Hezbollah’s Reaction to Conflict With Iran

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mi. —  A Detroit FBI official on Tuesday expressed concern as to how Hezbollah, which enjoys support in the Arab community in the Detroit area, might react if Israel or anyone else goes to battle with Iran.

“If Israel or anyone else chooses to act against Iran, what exactly is Hezbollah or Iran going to do? That’s the … $64,000 question,” FBI official Todd Mayberry, head of counterterrorism at the Detroit FBI, told a crowd of about 130 people the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports. The group represented 58 groups and law enforcement agencies in Michigan.

Mayberry said there currently is “no specific threat to the Jewish community here in Michigan.”

To read more click here.

Hezbollah Looking to US-Mexico Border, Former DEA Official Tells Congress

 

Michael Braun

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Former DEA chief of operations Michael Braun told members of a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday that the reach of influence of Hezbollah, the Iranian-supported Shi’ite terrorist group based in Lebanon, has reached the US-Mexico border, reports CNS News.

Hezbollah developed relationships with Mexican drug cartels to “move their agendas forward,” Braun is quoted as saying. A plot recently uncovered by the DEA alleges that an Iranian operative in Mexico had plotted to  the assassinate the Saudi ambassador in DC, according to CNS.

“Hezbollah are absolute masters at forming close relationships with existing organized crime groups around the world that helps them facilitate what they need to do to move their agendas forward,” Braun told CNS. “And if anyone thinks for a moment that they don’t have their eye on the southwest border and all of our country, then they couldn’t be more wrong.”

To read more click here.