Small business as cover for Hizbullah in Ecuador. From AP via the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Two Stellas.
Police broke up an international cocaine ring led by a Lebanese restaurant owner suspected of raising money for Hezbollah.
Ecuadorean authorities declined to elaborate Tuesday on the group's alleged links to terrorist activities "until further investigation."
But an internal police report obtained by The Associated Press said preliminary evidence "confirms the relationship between this organization and the terrorist movement Hezbollah." The document said the gang sent "up to 70 percent of its profits to the Islamic group."
Authorities detected the operation in September. The group smuggled cocaine principally to Europe and Asia in shipments valued at US$1 million each, the report said.
Anti-narcotics police on Tuesday presented a lineup of the alleged Lebanese ringleader, Rady Zaiter, and five other male suspects from Lebanon, Nigeria, Algiers and Turkey, in addition to an Ecuadorean woman.
The Ecuadorean investigation led to related arrests of 19 people in Brazil and the United States, the report said.
According to the report, Zaiter "had organized a large narcoterrorist infrastructure," using his Arab food restaurant in northern Quito as a front...