It’s hard to uphold a reputation as a devoutly religious terrorist group if you make millions selling cocaine. Just ask Hezbollah.
Last month, the US government filed suit against a number of American and Lebanese businesses that allegedly helped bankroll the Lebanese terrorist group. The civil indictment in Manhattan blew the lid off a vast criminal network that included money-laundering, cocaine deals and more — including 30 US car dealerships that helped the group launder cash.
As one investigator quipped, Hezbollah is the “Gambinos on steroids.”
The indictment charges Hezbollah kingpin Ayman Joumaa with smuggling more than 100 tons of Colombian cocaine with the Mexican Zetas drug cartel, yielding hundreds of millions of dollars for the terror group. Indeed, the feds show that Hezbollah relies on a carefully constructed system of criminal enterprises from America to Africa to the Middle East.
Since its 1982 birth, Hezbollah has worked hard to portray itself as a “resistance” organization, fighting against the alleged injustices of Israel, the United States and others, earning it wide respect across the Middle East.
But today the group’s operatives — at home and abroad — are thugs who profit from drugs, fraud and more. This contradiction could help erode support among Hezbollah’s pious Shi’ite followers.
In fact, the US government has for years warned of the growing Hezbollah drug and crime operations in the lawless “Tri-Border Area” of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.