Israeli police charged three Bedouins with smuggling 110 pounds of heroin from Lebanon. Hizbullah was not mentioned, but it rules the drug routes.
Together with the heroin, the Israeli Bedouins were also charged with tossing 22 pounds of hashish over the Lebanese border into Israel. The arrests comprised one of the largest drug busts in Israel since the Jewish State was re-established in 1948.
Police did not directly link the drugs, worth more than $600,000, with Hizbullah, but the terrorist party frequently has been cited as ruling drug routes in Lebanon and using them as a major source of income. The United States has expressed fears that growing Hizbullah links with Venezuela also are fueling drug traffic in South America.
The heroin route begins in Turkey and Syria and runs through the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where Hizbullah is dominant and where purification plants refine the substance into white heroin.
The heroin route begins in Turkey and Syria and runs through the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where Hizbullah is dominant.
Reports dating back several years have shown that Hizbullah uses its drug connections to help finance terrorist attacks and circulate counterfeit currency, often with the intention of destabilizing local economies.
Interpol has listed Lebanon as a world center for marketing a component it uses to purify heroin. Exports of heroin from Lebanon are valued in the billions of dollars, with Hizbullah and Syria reaping large profits.
Syria, in an effort to control Hizbullah, has decided to prop up Sheikh Subhi al-Tufaili, a deposed Hizbullah leader who later became a spokesman for drug growers in southern Lebanon, according to Stratfor, a private geopolitical intelligence company.
A major force behind the Hizbullah drug business is Iran, whose Muslim clerics have allowed distributing hard drugs if the purpose is to weaken Western societies.
The Yemen Times reported last April, "Hizbullah has been trading Lebanese-produced heroin and cocaine for Israeli military secrets." In March, Israeli authorities busted a drug ring involving IDF soldier Louai Balut, an Arab Catholic. He was charged with telling Hizbullah by telephone where Israeli troops were stationed along the Lebanese border.