Report: Hizbullah Earning Millions Off European Drug Trade
Israeli authorities have long said that the terror group was involved in growing and selling drugs – both for profit, and as a weapon to corrupt Israeli society.
A report in the German magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend says that one way Hizbullah has been earning money for its terror activities is by selling drugs in Europe. The report says that German police have arrested members of a Lebanese family that illegally transferred millions of euros from Germany to known Hizbullah terrorists, including Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah, in Lebanon.
According to the report, German customs officials arrested four Lebanese nationals – all members of the same family - at Frankfurt Airport who were found to be carrying nine million euros in their carry-on bags in May 2008. The money was seized, and an analysis showed traces of cocaine on the bills. A search of the homes of one of the suspects in the German town of Speyer yielded another 500,000 euros.
Later on, two other members of the same family known to be engaged in the drug trade throughout Europe were arrested – and under questioning, they admitted that they had sent money to family members in Beirut, and that they were closely connected to the Hizbullah leadership. The report went on to say that German police suspect that the two had been trained in Hizbullah training camps in Lebanon.
Although this is the first time a report links Hizbullah with the European drug trade, Israeli authorities have long said that the terror group was involved in growing and selling drugs – both for profit, and as a way to attempt to corrupt Israeli society. Farmers in the Bekaa Valley, once the center of the Middle East's largest hashish industry, have once again begun growing hashish, as well as other drugs. A 2009 UN report by the international organization's Office on Drugs and Crime says "farmers appear to be resuming cannabis cultivation."
In an interview with the Associated Press in December, Shamai Golan, a spokesman for Israel's Anti-Drug Authority, said that "there are dozens of documented cases" implicating Hizbullah and its patron Syria, in growing and selling drugs, and in smuggling them into Israel. Last week, Arutz 7 reported that Israeli security officials had arrested four residents of the border village of Ghajar on suspicion of trying to smuggle drugs into Israel. The four were caught hiding 5.5 kilograms (about 12 pounds) of a substance believed to be heroin.