The Hizbullah terrorist organization is making money by using long-standing drug smuggling routes from Mexico to the United States, the Washington Times reported.
Hizbullah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” recently retired senior drug enforcement official Michael Braun told the newspaper.
The terrorist network has a long history of financing its activities through drug smuggling, initially in Syria and Lebanon and more recently in South America, where Braun noted Iranian Revolutionary Guards members have begun appearing. As it adds Mexico to its expanded operation, Hizbullah smuggles people as well as drugs into the U.S., endangering national security, according to the report.
Hizbullah’s Mexican drug smuggling link coincides with concerns that the war against drugs as well as clashes between drug rings is causing the U.S. neighbor instability.
The terrorist network’s drug operations have grown since it began terrorist operations in the 1980s, giving it a base to grow into a political party that has become part of the Lebanese government while acting as “state within a state” among large parts of the Shi’ite Muslim community.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of Hizbullah moving terrorists across the Mexican border to carry out attacks in the United States, Hizbullah members and supporters have entered the country this way.
"The Mexican cartels have no loyalty to anyone," one of the officials told The Washington Times. "They will willingly or unknowingly aid other nefarious groups into the U.S. through the routes they control. It has already happened. That's why the border is such a serious national security issue."
Admiral James Stavridis, commander of U.S. forces in Latin America, recently told a Senate committee that Hizbullah is involved in drug trafficking in Colombia. His testimony followed a previous statement by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Hizbullah and Iranian government operatives are "proselytizing and working with Islamic activities throughout the region."