Including, evidently, at least one supporter of Hizballah.
There is, of course, a close link between jihad finance and drug trafficking. The Taliban made its living off drugs when it was in power, and probably still does. Several years ago, Abdul Rashid, a Taliban anti-drug official, explained that his job was to limit hashish use by Muslims, but said: “Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans.”
“12 arrested in counter-terrorism and drug-trafficking investigation,” by Greg Krikorian for the Los Angeles Times (thanks to Sr. Soph):
A dozen people were arrested Tuesday on charges of narcotics trafficking, money laundering and selling counterfeit goods after a two-year counter-terrorism and drug investigation centered in Los Angeles’ downtown garment district.
The focus of the federal investigation was Ali Khalil Elreda, 32, who was detained at Los Angeles International Airport last year, accused of trying to smuggle $120,000 in money orders and cashier’s checks, hidden in a child’s toy, to Lebanon, according to an indictment and an affidavit filed in the case.
In 2005, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department official showed a Senate committee a picture of a tattooed shop owner who had been arrested the year before on charges of selling counterfeit high-fashion merchandise. The tattoo was a symbol of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed guerrillas operating in Lebanon.
In his testimony, Lt. John Stedman, a top supervisor in the department’s emergency operations bureau, did not identify the shop owner. Stedman was not involved in the most recent investigation.
But two law enforcement sources said Tuesday that the merchant was Elreda.
Elreda and Hussein Saleh Saleh, 37, both of Bell, were charged in one of two indictments returned in the case with conspiring to smuggle cash out of the United States.
Five years ago, in an interview with The Times, Asa Hutchinson, then the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said authorities were examining dozens of domestic drug cases with potential links to Islamic terrorists, including a methamphetamine ring allegedly tied to Hezbollah.
During the recent Los Angeles investigation, law enforcement authorities allegedly seized 30 kilograms of cocaine and counterfeit clothing worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Others arrested Tuesday included Elreda’s brother, Mohamad, 25, of Bell; his sister, Susanne, 34, of Smyrna, Ga.; Robert Bell, 36, of Corona; Dalisa Johnson, 37, of Corona; Moussa Matar, 48, of Cudahy; Matar’s sons, Mohamad and Ali, both 28, of Cudahy; Juan Gonzalez, 26, of Lynwood; Frankie Higuera, 24, of Downey; and Crystal Hill, 25, of Hawthorne.