Smuggling for the jihad in Detroit, Dearborn, and Windsor, Ontario. “Windsor man called ‘major player’ in smuggling ring,” from the Windsor Star, :
DETROIT – A U.S. judge denied bail Tuesday to a Windsor man accused of being “a major player” in a smuggling ring that sent money to a Lebanese terrorist group.
Judge Virginia Morgan agreed with the prosecutor’s argument that Karim Hassan Nasser, who was born in Lebanon and lives in Windsor, would flee the United States if he was let out on bail.
“These are allegations of a large-scale and well-organized conspiracy,” said Morgan.
Nasser, 37, a Veteran Cab driver, was among nine men arrested last month in Michigan in connection with the multimillion-dollar ring, alleged to have smuggled cigarettes, counterfeit Viagra and Zig Zig rolling papers, socks, toilet paper and baby formula.
Ten others who live outside the U.S. were also named in the indictment. They include Naji Hassan Alawie, 44, and Hassan Hassan Nasser, 36, both from Windsor, and two Montreal men.
Authorities said profits of the operation were sent to Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based organization that Canada and the United States recognize as having links to terrorism, and used to support the families of suicide bombers.
As much as $500,000 worth of untaxed or low-taxed cigarettes were ferried each week between the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in New York state, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and New York, authorities allege.
Some of the proceeds included about $20 million in unpaid Michigan cigarette taxes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in court.
She said authorities sought to detain two of the accused before trial for fears they would flee.
The other man, Imad Majed Hamadeh, 51, of Dearborn, Mich., was granted bail last week.
McQuade said Nasser, who was caught when he tried to cross the border into the U.S., is a flight risk because of his living arrangements.
Nasser was born in Lebanon and spent more than 20 years there, she said. He’s a U.S. citizen but lives in Windsor with his wife and children.