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U.S. and European authorities announced on Monday that they had busted a “massive” drug and money-laundering scheme being operated by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah.
Following an investigation that “spanned the globe” and involved at least seven nations, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced that it had uncovered details of the scheme, which provided funds for Hezbollah “to purchase weapons … for its activates in Syria,” which are being primarily sponsored by Iran.
“This ongoing investigation spans the globe and involves numerous international law enforcement agencies in seven countries, and once again highlights the dangerous global nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism,” the DEA said in a statement.
The operation was part of a larger effort by the DEA and other governments to investigate and destroy Hezbollah’s drug and money-laundering operations across South America.
Hezbollah has been known to work with drug cartels across South America that are responsible for supplying Europe and the U.S. with “large quantities of cocaine.”
Experts have tied this behavior to larger efforts by Iran and its proxy groups to develop a financial and military foothold in Latin America.
Jack Riley, the DEA’s acting deputy administrator, said in a statement that these illicit activities are helping Hezbollah fund its military efforts to bolster embattled Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
“These drug trafficking and money laundering schemes utilized by the Business Affairs Component provide a revenue and weapons stream for an international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the world,” Riley said. “DEA and our international partners are relentless in our commitment to disrupt any attempt by terrorists and terrorist organizations to leverage the drug trade against our nations. DEA and our partners will continue to dismantle networks who exploit the nexus between drugs and terror using all available law enforcement mechanisms.”